Letters Have No Arms have packed their bags, put their travel hats on, and moved to a new land!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

"What is this hybrid?" you say! It's the amazing supergalactic Idlewild Whale!

 So I've been listening to Idlewild's new album "Post Electric Blues", whose title by the way I love. First impressions: Idlewild seem to have left behind the murkier, grungier sound of their alt-rock, indie-rock, Scottish-rock, en fin whatever-you-want-to-call-it rock past and turned to the greener, sweeter pastures of folk pop. During so many of the songs, four words kept popping into my head: Noah and the Whale. The sound, the female vocals, the instruments, the soft melodic chords, the sweetness of it all. Now I know Idlewild have had songs like this in the past, but they were the exception on an album rather than the rule. The band never quite seemed to embrace the Shins and Fanfarlo side of pop as much as the Weezer  & Ash side of pop. (And make no mistake, they're on different sides!) That's not to say that they've lost their identity. Songs like "Post Electric Blues", "No Wiser", and "All Over Town" sound like old Idlewild. But much of the album is surprisingly distortion-free. As much as I'm revelling in the absence of amplifiers and find this a welcome change - after all, if they had put out another 100 Broken Windows everyone would have accused them of repeating themselves - I do miss the stronger drum beats, power chords and addictive guitar riffs on older songs like "I Don't Have the Map", "El Capitan" and "Roseability". So I'm torn between loving that they chose to do something new and, well, still liking the old songs better. One thing is certain: the chances are there's a reason they've been left here, and I'm not disappointed.

Take Me Back to the Islands (Post Electric Blues)
I Don't Have the Map (100 Broken Windows)
Roseability (100 Broken Windows)

All artwork in this post created by SW▲MPY

In other news: Wes Anderson turns Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr. Fox" into a stop motion animation. If I was prone to exaggerations, I'd say I'm extremely incredibly painfully fucking excited. Good thing I know how to keep my cool.

 See more illustrations by SW▲MPY here.