The Birthday Suit - A Hollow Hole of Riches
- Brian Donaldson
- 21 February 2014
Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones has a blast with his other project, which suffers from an overabundance of filler
(Sing it Alone)
At the end of last year, Rod Jones responded to an online campaign from angst-riddled Idlewild fans who demanded a boycott on their solo projects until the band started recording again. Jones rightly poo-pooed such notions, and no wonder, given that he sounds like he’s having a blast with his offshoot outfit, the Birthday Suit.
In any case, ‘A Bigger World’, the opening track of the band’s third CD, A Hollow Hole of Riches, could have fitted easily onto anything Idlewild produced. And once overly-jaunty second track, ‘All of This Everything’, is out the way, the collection settles into its dominant aspect. Though the press release reckons that fans of the Twilight Sad and the National will go a bundle on this, it feels as though it wouldn’t have happened had there never been an Interpol or Editors.
‘Tonight is Broken Hearted’, with its curious name-checking of Black Sabbath and New Kids on the Block, is all moody and gloomy until its explosive chorus of festival-crowd cheeriness. It’s probably the finest moment on here, aided by chucking in the ‘Born to Run’ drum break. Filler tracks are a little too abundant across the 11-strong collection, though, with ‘Someone Else’s Wealth’ and ‘Love Isn’t Love’ especially guilty as charged.
There’s nothing wrong with a shift in direction within a record, but quite how ‘Third Time Lucky‘ got in there is anyone’s guess. Its stabby guitar opening sounds like a joke but it’s deadly serious compared to the chorus which has apparently been pitched at the less mature viewers of CBeebies. We’re back on more solid ground with ‘(At Least) Much Better than Before’ which is impossible to listen to without concocting an action-packed football montage in your head or picturing a thousand iPhones being held towards the sky. As far as record titles go, it’s pretty spot on: there are some proper gems in here, but a clanking emptiness is its defining characteristic.