I have long had a deep affection for Idlewild, regrettably now a tad out of fashion – the Scottish undertow, the sort-of punky attitude but with a slice of literary influences and probably, it has to be said , my fondness for things Scottish and echoes of my personal history.
Roddy Woomble as frontman obviously has a lot to answer for in that respect. His solo album of a couple of years back – My Secret is My Silence – was one of those genuinely beautiful albums, the folkiness a refreshing counterpoint to some of the Idlewild material, the quality of the songs, the musicianship and all that jazz. It remains one of those few albums that have a particular place in my musical heart.
The new collaboration with Kris Drever and John McCusker, Before the Ruin, was either destined to be a further slice of that pie or a bit of a mistake. Comprising Kris Drever (acoustic and electric guitars, vocals), John McCusker (violin, cittern, whistle and tenor guitar), Francis MacDonald (drums), Phil Selway (drums), Ewan Vernal (bass), Norman Blake (vocals), Heidi Talbot (vocals) and Roddy Woomble (lead vocals), it is no disappointment. Clearly different from the Woomble solo album, but in a similar vein, heartfelt music that will last