AOTW: Roddy Woomble – My Secret Is My Silence
16/08/2010 § 17 Comments
For those who don’t know, Roddy “Improbable Surname” Woomble is the lead singer of Scottish rock band, Idlewild. Bar the odd single (most notably “American English”), their stuff has never really grabbed me, but I think this album is an absolute gem. It’s not clever or flashy – in fact, it’s the complete opposite of flashy: it’s mainly quiet, contemplative, organic-sounding folk-rock. And it’s lovely.
I think what I particularly love about it is the space in each track: musically, but also lyrically. With the help of a talented band (including Kate Rusby and John McCusker), Roddy has created a body of music that just sounds honest and… elemental. He has come up with songs that of course mean something specific as written (the title track clearly concerns his feelings about Scotland) but that, as a listener, you can invest with your own meaning: “My secret is my silence, and my silence is in vain…” I’m betting there’s a fair few people with whom that resonates. It’s all far too oblique to ever get an RR listing (don’t think I’ve ever even spotted a Roddy nom), but all the more reason for bigging the album up here!
I can take or leave the slightly more fiddle-de-dee tracks (eg, the instrumental “Whiskeyface”), but the first five tracks are as strong an opening to an album as I can think of. And the duet with Karine Polwart, “If I could name any name”, is just gorgeous. Not much more to say about it than that, but in a world where Mumford & Sons are massive, surely there’s room for Roddy W to be a bigger solo star than he has been so far…
PS I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this got Spill coverage when it was released back in 2006, but I wasn’t a native of these parts back then, so old-timers please forgive me!