Roddy Woomble releases his fifth solo album, ‘Lo! Soul’, on the A Modern Way label.
It’s the fifth long-plater from the Idlewild frontman, following his debut, ‘My Secret Is My Silence’, from 2006, ‘The Impossible Song & Other Songs’ (2011), ‘Listen To Keep’ (2013) and 2017’s ‘The Deluder’.
Available to download now, the ten tracks follow the less folk-influenced and more experimental EP ‘Everyday Sun’, released in February last year, and which featured largely spoken word pieces over an ambient soundtrack.
Like that EP, and the earlier title track single from ‘Lo! Soul’, the new album has been produced and mixed by collaborator and Idlewild bandmate Andrew Mitchell (aka Andrew Wasylyk) – recorded remotely between Woomble’s home in the Hebrides and Wasylyk’s studio in Dundee throughout 2020 while Scotland was locked down.
Woomble says of the new record: “Andrew describes moments of the album as ‘Dystopian-pop’ which I think is as good a description as any.
“Lockdown gave me the sense of a collective melancholy, a shared remoteness and isolation – that has been a guiding influence throughout all the songs. It is the most unusual record I have made, and made in the most unusual way.”
“I’m a collaborative songwriter,” he continues, “used to working in a room with one or more people, or a band, and I think my songs benefit from that human connection and response.”
“Gradually though, I started developing songs on my acoustic guitar which I would record on my phone and send on to Andrew in Dundee. Around then, my friend and musician Danny Grant, based in Glasgow, began sharing his wonderful electronic grooves and rhythms with me.
“I started improvising over these with my poems. It didn’t feel like an album we were creating at this stage though, more a scrapbook of this particular moment. As restrictions eased in the summer I spent three days in Andrew’s studio recording vocals and developing these ideas.”
As for the album’s title: “I have always been an admirer of the word ‘Lo’, Walt Whitman uses it quite a bit – (..’Lo, the unbounded sea, On its breast a ship starting, spreading all sails, carrying even her moonsails’..) It is a call to attention.”
Asked about what influenced the sound and direction of the album, Wooble says: ”Andrew and I never really discuss influences when we’re working on songs, so if they end up sounding like something it is purely by accident! – that said, ‘Music for films’ by Brian Eno, ‘I’m your Man’ by Leonard Cohen, The slow focus mixtape on NTS radio, Night tracks on Radio 3, Poems by George Mackay Brown and Langston Hughes, and of course the empty landscape that surrounds me.”
‘Lo! Soul’ is out now digitally, and available from August 13th 2021 on vinyl/CD. Lo! Soul Album Launch Live Stream on Tuesday May 25th at 8pm BST – tickets here.
More at www.roddywoomble.net.