roddy woomble album band review

Roddy Woomble’s The Deluder: Review

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“I think we are going to have a wonderful time” Roddy Woomble croons on the first song of The Deluder, ‘Look Back Like Leaving’. But are we?

Six years after Roddy Woomble’s last solo album The Impossible Song and Other Songs, he has brought his crew back for this album. He has not been on a six-year holiday, however – in 2015 he released Everything Ever Written with his band Idlewild, that he shot to fame with in the late 90s/early 2000s. Woomble’s sound has come a long way since his more aggressive vocals in hits like When I Argue I See Shapes and A Little Discourage.

However, his solo albums have always had a more country tone, in contrast to the more rocky sound of Idlewild. Therefore, The Deluder surprised me on first listen. Woomble told us: “I am not really interested in making the same record again and again, and I’m also not popular enough for people to expect a certain kind of album from me. I have a bit of freedom, and a whole lot of interesting friends and musicians to work with. I try and make the most interesting music I can, and time will tell if it’s good enough.”

What I like about Roddy Woomble as a solo artist is that he writes how he feels, and lets the audience soak it up. He doesn’t have to shout or scream to make his voice heard – his vocals and self-written lyrics speak for themselves. ‘It’s clear to me that you want clarity, but a mirror won’t bring that automatically; it’s a projection of the pieces that you want to see’ and ‘When is now? Was it ever here before?’ are just two of the album’s thought-provoking lyrics on this album.   Whilst stylistically he has added sound effects to the vocals such as echoing in ‘Jupiter’, the quality and authenticity of his singing still comes through.

Saying that, the album does have some seemingly obscure tracks. ‘Jupiter’ was the second single released from the album, and is one of the more cheerful ones. When I first heard this song, having spent the past few years listening to his previous works on repeat, I was perplexed. He has written about a lot of things before, but not space! However, when listening to the lyrics properly, you understand how it works. He also mentioned in a recent blog post that the song was based on his son learning about space – which I found quite sweet.

One of the highlights of this album for me is the violin from Hannah Fisher – it hits a chord inside of you, makes the words more emotional. Whilst on previous albums the violin was more upbeat to stay with the country tone, it adds more of a soulfulness to the songs on The Deluder. The whole album has a nostalgic, thoughtful tone to it, and the violin truly brings this on tracks such as ‘Floating on a River’. Her backing vocals also harmonise beautifully with Woomble’s; she shines particularly on ‘On n’a plus de temps’, adding a haunting effect to the track.

You don’t have to be an Idlewild or Roddy Woomble fan to give this album a listen – it follows a very different path to his usual music, but it does work superbly. The mixture of haziness and wistfulness is enough to carry you. He has not been deluded in changing the pace of his music, and it stands alone as another expressive journey he yet again invites the listener to travel on.

Roddy Woomble is playing at Rescue Rooms in Nottingham on the 18th October

You can read our full interview with Roddy Woomble here

By Eve Smallman

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