I feel like a lucky man today. A new pre-release to review, and it's IDLEWAR, a band I've been following for some time now, and it's really, really good.
As you will know if you read my previous article, I was a fan of the E.P Dig In and thus a fan of the band. Dig In is a great release, with strong songs but it also sign posted what Idlewar could achieve moving forward.
So its very satisfying when you hear Impulse, and it shows a clear development in song writing whilst keeping the raw qualities that drew me to them in the first place.
What they retain is the strong vocal performances, emphasis on rockin' riffs and groove. What they add is even more accomplished songwriting, a slightly heavier feel in parts, (that's always gonna go down well with me), and the overall delivery has more thump, due to the strength and impact of the tracks, a great production and some mastering by Brian Lucey, who has worked with the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Ghost.
In this LP, Idlewar give you bluesy, groove laden heavy rock from start to finish. The opener, Stone In My Heel typifies this. A stomping opening riff, accentuated by a rolling drum beat heavy on crash cymbals really gets the party started in style. The track is a straight out rocker from start to finish, driven by heavy groove.
And there's so many stone cold rockers on the album to talk about. Innocent is quick and straight to the point with one of the best solos on the album. Burn is full of rock intent and has a great melody in the vocal. Criminal, the first single, can be listened to below. It is brilliant and it speaks for itself.
Whilst it's a heavy rock tour de force, there are tracks with other soundscapes on display.
Soul a heavy and mechanical track uses Zeppelin-esque chords in the verse which introduces and interesting element. The bridge is a moment of pure brilliance leading into a strong solo. All That I Got made me reminisce about Live, circa The Distance Here, as it's strong on vocal performance and musically atmospheric. Damage is pacey, with a swingy, not swinger, sound, it's one to get up and move to.
Glory is glorious (see what I did there, sometimes I astound myself). It has my favourite vocal on the album, it has a fantastically heavy feel and almost a Rage Against The Machine vibe, minus the political rantings of course.
Apathy, a rather ironic name given the drive in the track, carries on where Glory leaves off, propelled by a driving riff and rythm section. The bridge and solo throws in a nice surprise in terms of guitar tone which adds a great layer of interest in the track.
On Our Knees closes out the album in great style. It keeps your head nodding from start to finish and takes you back to the balls out Rock 'n' Roll style Idlewar do so well.
A couple of reviews I read of Dig In said Idlewar aren't reinventing the wheel. This critique of bands is a tired old cliche and example of lazy journalism. Fart down a microphone and call it FlatuCore and they might be happy.
Idlewar have never tried to claim they're here to re-invent hard rock and why should they? They produce well written, rocking tunes that are infectious and enjoyable. Impulse does however, provide some delightful twists and turns and unexpected moments adding to the enjoy-ability of the album.
Impulse is a great platform from which Idlewar can launch themselves to the next level. They've already gained the support of Planet Rock radio and are finishing off their UK tour by playing Plant Rock's sold out festival. They have been described as "immense" by classic rock magazine. It's time to believe the hype. Impulse will be here 30th September and it's going to blow your balls off!
Idlewar are James Blake on vocals and bass, Rick Graham on guitar and Pete Pagonis on drums.