Idlewar - 'Rite' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 05, 2018    
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If this album had been released in the early nineties, it would've shifted millions.

I don't mind admitting I approach three-piece bands with a large amount of trepidation. With the exception of the likes of ZZ Top, Motörhead and Cream, there's very few others who really melt my butter. For me, I love a second guitarist, some keyboards or an out and out front-man just to add a bit of fat. I still haven't got over when Bryan Adams reverted to a three-piece after the double departure of Tommy Mandel and Dave Taylor. It was bloody awful, a seriously weak threesome that was weightless after open band surgery.

However, back in 2015, I came across Idlewar's EP 'Dig In' and was pleasantly knocked off my seat. That happened again a year later with their ferocious debut 'Impulse'. Now sitting upright again, I was well prepared for another kick in the shins with this latest opus, and that's exactly what I got with the opening track 'Sullen Moon'. The Orange County boys set the tone for the album with this beautifully atmospheric gem. A track with some slick Doom and Blues textures, it wouldn't be out of place on a classic Black Sabbath album. 'Break' ramps up the pace with its muscular hypnotic rhythm before the deep vibes of 'Keep Your Word' and 'Sing Loud' send you hurtling down a black hole, but believe me, this is a black hole you want to be in (and this is coming from a man who grew up on spandex-bursting Party Rock).

Don't get me wrong, this album is not a crash course in misery, there's just something incessantly addictive about the way they present their music. The succulent combination of James Blake's raucous vocals and Rick Graham's titanic riffage are a winning formula. The pair completely rip it up on the bullish tones of 'Strain' with another caustic Graham lick. 'Caught' once again has them dipping their toes in trippy bluesy waters, but rest easy, this growler won't have you nodding off in the armchair, more like standing on it, revelling in its compelling rhythm.

For me, penultimate tune 'Hang' is the record's finest moment. It just encapsulates everything that makes this band so enduring – power, grit and honesty. If this album had been released in the early nineties, it would've shifted millions, but the music industry is a changed animal now, which is a bloody shame.

Brian Boyle

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