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The Birthday Suit

The Eleventh Hour

(Sing It Alone; US: 11 Nov 2011; UK: 11 Nov 2011)

With Idlewild on hiatus and vocalist Roddy Woomble leaning folk-ward on his solo work, guitarist Rod Jones stakes a claim to his band’s riff-heavy side by kicking his new project’s debut off with a bang—a big bang baby, oddly enough. Don’t let the uncharacteristic Stone Temple Pilots pile-drive and strut of opener “Do You Ever?” throw you off. The Birthday Suit’s next move is a slick segue into “Hope Me Home”, a gem of a duet with band member Jacqueline Irvine that ranks among Jones’ best work. From here, The Eleventh Hour plows along with a familiar intensity and melodic flavor, which should please most Idlewild fans, but also makes it suffer by comparison. Jones’ known strengths as a writer and guitarist work against him as a lead vocalist, as his limitations are put into sharpest relief against those songs that most resemble his work with Idlewild; it’s hard to not hear Woomble’s iconic delivery doing them greater justice. Notably, the highlights are those songs on which Jones breaks from template, like the string-laden ballad “They Say I Love You”, or those on which he shares the vocal spotlight with Irvine.

Rating:

Despite the profile picture, Dave Bloom is not much of a guitarist. He's a decent rock drummer, though, and sporadically writes about other people who hit things at http://drumtumblr.tumblr.com. He writes about music, culture, politics, librarianship, and other stuff at http://davebloom.tumblr.com.


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The Birthday Suit - "Hope Me Home"
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