For moderate to high level fans only
In recent years, Idlewild have become known for big Indie styles anthems and a quieter approach to songwriting than some of their contemporise but this wasn't always the case. The first track on their rarities collection is 'Queen of the Trroubled Teens' was their self-financed first single and it's a noisy rocker, proving the band has come a long way in the past decade. The quick fuzzy pace and the snarling lyrics whiz by you in a manner more in spirit of a Nirvana rarity than of the measured Scots band.
The first tracks here don't deviate from the same shouty and angry punk route and it's a world away from what the band delivers to now but 'This Is Worse', track five, makes the first step away from what was to what is. Sure, it's a still bit tagged around the edges but the 100mph style has lessened off and there is the making of a song structure in there. From here on in, the growing maturity and development unfolds in front of your ears.
If you've been a collector of the bands B-sides, theres nothing new to be found but I suppose that's the point of the release, its to fill in the gaps and to give outsiders a different viewpoint of the act.
The band, perhaps unwittingly, displays the level they are operating at by the inclusion of a cover of Teenage Fanclub's 'Everything Flows.' It may not live up the original version but Idlewilds own material struggles to compete with the song, one that can be overlooked amongst the many gems hidden in the Fanclubs arsenal. It is no disgrace to be of a lower level than Teenage Fanclub but with Scotland being a small and parochial nation, its going to invite comparison.
The other covers available and fare better, the Gang of Four track 'I Find That Essence Rare' captures the snarl and menace of the original whilst the Vashti Bunyan (who readers may know as the woman who did the beautiful song that featured in a T-Mobile advert recently) track 'Winter Is Blue' is a far more plaintive song and benefits from additional female vocals.
Idlewild pride themselves in being apart from the ordinary and the normal and this collection, alongside the stop-offs at venues like Lochinver, Oban and Falmouth on their recent tour proves they are not a band who take the simple route but part of is may be attributed to the fact that the mainstream has shunned the band as well. Even when they sounded their most anthemic and as close to REM as any band could, there was still the lack of a major breakthrough for the band, and whilst there will always be a fanbase for them, there is a feeling that they will eventually peter out. With Roddy Woomble investing time on a solo career and the time placed on the 'Ballad of The Books' project, there will be life outside of Idlewild but hopefully history will remember the band with some fondness.
As a package, it's simple, its meant as an accompaniment piece to the best of collection that has been released recently as opposed to a rival and this album is truly for fans only. The addition of the early singles and B-sides are the real reasons to snap this up, the B-sides are alright, they're of a better standard than a lot of bands bonus tracks but hardly earth-shattering.