Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
April 12, 2003
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Idlewild
The Remote Part

There are very few times that i look to the radio for any semblance of artistic fashion. usually i have to incessantly browse the genres at amazon.com, swimming may way through deluge after deluge of disappointing 30-second song samples. but once in a while the radio actually heralds an artist. it was through that medium that i discovered Jimmy Eat World and Coldplay and i guess there's no shame in that because a group like Idlewild can also fit nicely in the corporate niche of radio rock. what sets them apart is that they are just coincidentally radio friendly.

on The Remote Part, Idlewild exhibits a pop-rock savoire faire similar to the likes of Jimmy Eat World: sure it's catchy, but at least it's honest and surprisingly intelligent. the album is equipped with a distinct foreign flavor, one that isn't encumbered by smooth studio production. indeed, as the track "In Remote Pt. 1/Scottish Fiction" shows, there is a definite historical axis to the music that gives it a somewhat special air. versatility is also a signature of the record as their post-punk days of the old have given way to the Smiths-like production of "You Held the World in Your Arms," an 8-minute long maelstrom of strings and guitar.

though the lyrics don't express any complex messages, they are carried with complex inflection and overall delivery so that they connect at a very base level but aren't base themselves. the music itself is surprisingly impressive even while it uses rather atavistic guitaring, fuzzing, and drumming. one sees the same thing with Depeche Mode, whose use of nearly comical 80's blips and squeaks makes their music quite alluring. though only short of 40 minutes long, The Remote Part is a stellar piece of work and may actually give hope to the radio.

Release date: March 25, 2003
Label: Capitol
Rating: 8.5 / 10

[RMR]