Reviews Idlewild Warnings / Promises

Idlewild

Warnings / Promises

In 2002, Bob Fairfoul walked out of Idlewild with a rain of misdirected punches. From that moment, it seemed impossible that the next album would be anything other than either a return to an older, easier sound, or a radical change. When bassist Gavin Fox from Irish band Turn and long-term tour guitarist Allan Stewart were drafted into the new look five-piece, we were still left guessing as to which it would be.

It took until January 2005, when Idlewild embarked on a series of acoustic shows in which they took their back catalogue and several of the new songs, and stripped them down to bare basics, before the answer was given. They played their songs, the same songs they'd been playing for years. Except, this time, they played their songs as they were written. And that is what Warnings / Promises is. An album recorded the way it was written to sound.

On first listen, the changes to the basic Idlewild sound were as obvious as always, yet the difficulty was in deciding why or how it was so. Beyond the odd glimpses of pedal steel guitars, it is hard to see what there is on this album that they haven't come close to doing before. But that's the thing. It's easy to look at Warnings / Promises and wonder what is so new about it, without realizing that Idlewild aren't the same band they were in 2002. They have moved on and started fresh, forgetting everything that got them this far. As opposed to nothing being new, everything is.

As with every release since 100 Broken Windows, not all Idlewild fans will be pleased. In fact, I'm not even sure Warnings / Promises will please fans of The Remote Part. It is slow paced, relying heavily on acoustic guitars, folk influences and country tinges. Even the moments that delve a little more heavily into the old electric guitars and distortion routine, such as "Blame It on Obvious Ways", "The Space Between All Things" and first single "Love Steals Us from Loneliness" seem more subdued, more thought about than bashed out.

But it isn't really in these songs that the true beauty of this album lays. It is in the fact that the whole album is stripped down to the bare bones of good song writing (most notable on songs like "Welcome Home", "El Capitan" and "Not Just Sometimes but Always"). Warnings / Promises offers a refreshing glance at what real music with a rhythm, a melody and a story to it can sound like. It is one of the few albums that doesn't break down this most basic of all formulae. It is without the self-indulgent braggadociosness of contemporaries and without the necessity to pall songs in layer upon layer of overdubbed timbres in which they finally become lost.

This is the real heart of Warnings / Promises - that it is one of those most unusual of albums that relies, not on studio effects and producers, but on good songs in their very most pure of forms.

9.7 / 10Neil F.
Advertisement
RevHG - banner
Leave a comment

Parlophone

2005

9.7 / 10

9.7 / 10

Share this content
Advertisement
Profane Existence - skyscraper
Recent reviews

The Faint

Doom Abuse

7.0 / 10 The Faint - Doom Abuse album cover

It came as a surprise to everyone. The Faint sprung up from the ground out of nowhere after being gone for a few years. They came out of the dark ...

Brown Brogues

Zoloto

7.8 / 10 Brown Brogues - Zoloto album cover

In an alternate universe, Brown Brogues' "Shit In Your Eye" sits atop the charts; following in the lineage of other certified gold cuts such as Ty Segall's "Girlfriend" and the Black Lips' "Bad ...

Helms Alee

Sleepwalking Sailors

8.0 / 10 Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors album cover

Sleepwalking Sailors is just too good, promptly inserting itself at the top of my list for album of the year (for now, and yes, I keep a running list all year ...

Related news

Records They Might Be Giants comp in the works

Posted April 9, 2014, 5:19 p.m.

On May 27, They Might Be Giants will release a 10-year compilation of their material titled Idlewild. The record will contain 17 songs and be neither a "best of" nor ...

Shows Posi Numbers Update

Posted April 28, 2004, 5:33 a.m.

The 2004 edition of Posi Numbers Fest has begun to take shape. No longer must we deal with rumored line-ups. Check out the fests offical site HERE for working list ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.