Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
Hope Is Important
Take note, aspiring popsters: this is the way to go about making your debut LP....
While their earlier efforts, like the 'Captain' mini-LP, were wilful exercises in barbarous barking noises, 'Hope...' has proper pop sensibility and is alive with imaginative twists and the sort of impenetrable lyrics that made early Manics singles so special. Indeed, with the rabble-rousing likes of 'Paint Nothing', 'When I Argue I See Shapes' and 'Everyone Says You're So Fragile', they are perhaps the most natural heirs to the Manics' tortured torch.
This is not a glam racket, though: this is a blaring, Pastels-at-78rpm punky sprawl from the proud lineage of the Pixies and Sonic Youth, though lacking for the most part the pretensions of its progenitors. What better example than the truly awesome primordial clatter of 'I'm A Message', which is Lucifer at large, armed with menacing melodies and towering over a terrified pop populus with sullen majesty.
Here, then, are loads of sharp edges waiting to be sanded down, buckets of righteous fury ready to be channelled and, in its entirety, a record which states that, in these troubled times, rock'n'roll is alive and well and living in Scotland.
Hope is important, perhaps, but for Idlewild a fantastic future looks an absolute certainty.
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
A still-vital John Lydon rages towards retirement on a saucy, scuzzy new album
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Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album