Hope Is Important

Take note, aspiring popsters: this is the way to go about making your debut LP....

TAKE NOTE, ASPIRING popsters: this is the way to go about making your debut LP. 'Hope Is Important' is 35 minutes long and tells you everything you could ever want to know about Edinburgh firebrands Idlewild. It's riddled with nagging little eccentricities, peppered with storming singles and leaves you confident in the knowledge that this is a band on their way to somewhere good.

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.
8 / 10

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