Album Review: Roddy Woomble


Roddy Woomble: ‘Listen To Keep’ (Reveal Records)

Sigh. I first heard Roddy Woomble’s music back in 1997. Ironically, I picked up the 7″ of ‘Queen Of The Troubled Teens’ expecting it to sound like a folky band because of the girl on the front cover wearing an outsized woolly jumper. I wasn’t expecting the record that I put on, memorably described by NME as ‘sounding like flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs.’ Anyway, I fell for Idlewild, saw them several times, rejoiced when they got big and felt aggrieved when they parted company with their record company around 2007.

And I was intrigued by his growth into folk, loved his debut solo album My Secret Is My Silence, and basically went and checked out the Incredible String Band because he said they were his favourite Scottish band. When he collaborated with Kris Drever and John McCusker for Before The Ruin.

You can see where this is going, can’t you? Look: I have really tried to like this album, and having been a fan for so many years, I feel almost like I am betraying him by saying this – but the reality is I don’t rate this album at all. It starts off ok, and then just descends into blandness.

The opening track ‘Making Myths’ is ok, but the thought that struck me as I neared my second playing was ‘this is like a poor version of Deacon Blue.’ God knows, the man has made some brilliant records over the years – and Mrs. 17 Seconds has long held up Idlewild at the Usher Hall in 2005 as one of the best gigs she ever went to. I’ll probably try and give this a few more listens, more out of loyalty than because I enjoy it. But even just typing this review makes me feel sad.

Listen To Keep is out now on Reveal Records.

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