The Bloody Classics - Idlewild: '100 Broken Windows'
Idlewild 100 Broken Windows, 2000, Food Records
1. Little Discourage 2. I Don't Have the Map 3. These Wooden Ideas 4. Roseability 5. Idea Track 6. Let Me Sleep (Next to the Mirror) 7. Listen to What You've Got 8. Actually It's Darkness 9. Rusty 10. Mistake Pageant 11. Quiet Crown 12. The Bronze Medal
Formed in Edinburgh at the end of 1995, this was indie rockers Idlewild’s second album. It was successful both in the UK and America, leading to tours on both sides of the atlantic. It was a move away from the punkier sound of their first album to the more melodic sound they would soon come to be known for.
Both opener Little Discourage and I Don’t Have a Map are very rocky with thrashing guitars at the forefront. They are nice, melodic songs which still retain a punky flavour. These Wooden Ideas is marked out by a bit of electro keyboard action which is a nice touch. Successful single Roseability is a harder edged love song and one of their more well known tracks. Idea Track is definitely punk enough to have been on their first album, but though the drums are great, overall it’s really just shouty. Let Me Sleep (Next to the Mirror) is great, beautiful and melodic. Fast and furious Listen to What You've Got is a much better attempt to be true to their punky roots than their previous try. Actually It's Darkness is the best track - it shows their progression towards their melodic peak. Rusty has an interesting beat but it’s not a great song, it feels a bit disjointed. Mistake Pageant feels very much like the pop-punk standards that were about to dominate the charts as the early 2000s rolled on. Quiet Crown, an ode to Scotland is another gentle, beautiful track, one that the band do so well. The Bronze Medal is a full step into their next album, leaving their roots behind, it’s a bit ponderous but a nice track.
100 Broken Windows is clearly more mature than their first album and there is a very obvious progression towards the style they would adopt and maintain in the future. What you also see here is a band trying to fit in somewhere now that Britpop is truly dead. 2000 was not a vintage year for younger British bands and it must have been hard to find an appropriate sound. It’s still feels like a very quick album in the punk tradition though and the songs seem to blend together in a very punky way although the influence of early REM is very strong. As with Muse last week, Idlewild were a band in transition along with the whole of the UK music scene.