Make Another World
It's been a decade now since Roddy Woomble and co. first turned the Britpop union jack an entire shade of blue with their visceral, angst-ridden taunts about 'Satan Polaroid' and 'The Queen Of The Troubled Teens', and while the world has taken pretty much an about turn, Idlewild have continued to grow older and wiser without losing their dignity, and at times on 'Make Another World' - their fifth long player - also seem to have re-discovered their savage edge.
But before any long-standing fans reading this jump for joy at the prospect of 'Hope Is Important' mk II, let's cut to the chase and say that while this is a refreshing change from 2005's disappointing-by-their-standards 'Warnings/Promises', it is anything but a full-on punk rock record either.
Having influenced countless artists on either side of the Atlantic throughout their career, Idlewild aren't the type of band to tarnish that reputation now by trying to go head-to-head with the fitter, sharper, new kids on the block. Instead, a lot of this record could be seen as being the band's most reflective statement to date, as even some of the slower paced, ballad-like numbers have a lyrical potency not associated with Woomble since the commercial peak of 'The Remote Part'.
Opener 'In Competition For The Worst Time' sees a more sprightly Idlewild than the one that limped and staggered through their last record, Woomble spitting "I'm in competition for the worst first line I could write." and while he may have succeeded on that count, the song itself certainly isn't one of his worst.
'Everything (As It Moves)' and 'No Emotion' are both bittersweet jaunts that see the band shrug off the "REM wannabees" tag that has hung over them in recent times, while First single 'If It Takes You Home' and the loud, techno-infused 'A Ghost In The Arcade' find Idlewild at their rockiest in years.
Sure there are a couple of numbers around the halfway mark that struggle to hold one's attention for long, but as albums go, 'Make Another World' is an exciting return to form and contains enough moments of sparse unpredictability that suggests Idlewild aren't ready to call it a day just yet.