Somewhere after their first album Hope is Important, Idlewild began to get it. That debut was a mess of sorts, uneasily combining sophomoric punk with indie rock. Since then, they’ve all but dropped the punk aspects and moved forward toward the R.E.M. side of things. After being dropped by EMI after the terrific and criminally under-appreciated Warnings/Promises in 2005, the band has regrouped and come back with Make Another World.
Warnings/Promises was the sound of a band maturing and growing up; songs had slower tempos and more introspective and thoughtful lyrics. Make Another World then, is the sound of a band realizing that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean slower tempos and more acoustic guitars.
The songs are strong, and the band sounds as confident as ever on the brash opening salvo “In Competition for the Worst Time” and the slick first single “No Emotion”. The band also shows they can beat contemporaries like Snow Patrol at their game on the destined-for-Grey’s Anatomy-ballad “You and I Are Both Away”.
But this isn’t the sound of a band trying to reclaim their youth; it feels like a logical step forward for the band, exploring new sonic territories, different from the folky/country undertones of Warnings/Promises. Delicate sonic textures of the title track and “Future Works” suite the band comfortably.
Filled with energy and exuberance, Make Another World is something of a minor masterpiece, a band finding its second wind. With this, their fifth full-length album, Idlewild have solidified a place as one of the most underrated bands still waiting to be discovered.