Sunday, 20 November 2011

Review: The Birthday Suit - The Eleventh Hour

 As charming Scottish indie rockers Idlewild have now officially settled into their hiatus, more in the way of side projects are beginning to emerge. As frontman Roddy Woomble has started to give himself some solo folk rock experience, fans who are pining for the sweeping alternative rock sound with the occasional punk influence of previous can now find it in The Eleventh Hour, the debut from guitarist Rod Jones' new group The Birthday Suit.

 Essentially, this means you're not really going to find anything too revolutionary here. There are a fair amount that separates The Birthday Suit from Idlewild though. The differing vocal styles between Woomble and Jones is a considerable feature. While Woomble's smoother more melancholic vocals really characterizes Idlewild's emotional impact, Jones' vocals are similar to those of Damon Albarn and gives The Eleventh Hour a wilder and more fun atmosphere that is reminiscent to much of the music of the '90's and early '00's britpop era particularly with Blur and Idlewild's 100 Broken Windows in mind.
 This nostalgic feel of the album has an engaging sense of charm to it, no matter how the music is presented to us, be it in the soothing mellowness of The Say I Love You or the immediatley following speedier but similarly gentle On My Own. Actually, "mellow" is probably the best description for this album, though Hope Me Home and World Goes By will display the occasional grungey riff, though they are often overshadowed by strings and calming gentle basslines. However, it is this mellowness that comes out on top on this album, with Are You OK? having the kind of vocal harmonies reminiscent of R.E.M. the true godfathers of this type of style.
 So overall, though the differences between The Birthday Suit and Idlewild are subtle at best, Jones and crew have created a very strong collection of indie rock songs that carry a sense of class beauty and celebration. The Birthday Suit have created an album which shows all that was great about Britpop in the 90's. I guess.

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