Idlewild - No Emotion
Mike Hall 26/02/2007
Idlewild once held the post-punk flag aloft, their screaming, chaotic live shows packed with harsh, angular rhythms and searing, off-kilter guitar. With their mini-album 'Captain' and follow-up full-length lp 'Hope Is Important' they introduced a generation of kids to the possibilities of doing it loud, doing it fast and doing it angry.
Then they decide to 'chill out' and become an awkward cousin to R.E.M. While their next couple of records were still very good - choruses galore, sweeping melodies and the like - they seemed to have veered from the left into the dreaded terrain known as "Middle Of The Road."
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to say that 'No Emotion' is an all-guns blazing return to form from one of Britain's most beloved bands? It would. But it's not. It sounds remarkably similar to everything else on their last record - meandering lyrics, big build to a chorus and then…well, very little of substance.
Their bemoaning of people's actions, words and lives containing 'No Emotion' is clearly an irony lost on a band who lost their fire a long time ago. It's a bit dancier than usual; it goes through the obligatory 'epic' motions and grandiose notions but is, ultimately, a grey little disappointment. Harsh perhaps? Well, maybe, but an awful lot more is expected from the band that once tore up the rulebook and rammed it down the industry's throat.