by Craig Howieson
There are almost five thousand miles separating Los Angeles from the Outer Hebrides where Roddy Woomble is based. Two places of immeasurable differences – one the cracked veneer of the American dream; the other, a humble collection of isles as beautiful as they are barren – and the stark contrast found in these geographic locations can be mirrored in Woomble’s artistic output. From the Dischord infused beginnings of his band, Idlewild, to the epic indie rock of their later records; and the earnest folk of his solo debut, My Secret is my Silence, through to the lounge pop and soul stylings of The Deluder, he has always been a wanderer. He finds a niche within which he could settle – only to move on in search of something new.
Architecture In LA, the second single to be released ahead of his new full length, Lo! Soul, finds him roaming once again, and is quite unlike anything we have heard from him to date. A parade of horns herald in a track of sun-glazed electro-pop as Woomble’s sing-speak vocals – something he has adapted to great effect on spoken word pieces in recent years – trip over an impossibly catchy chorus. It will come as a surprise to some, but paired with the sweet balladry of previous single, Lo Soul, it points towards another record of brazen eclecticism that will untie with each listen.
Woomble is not bound to a specific location or style for his inspiration. A dreamer with wanderlust, he looks beyond the horizon for the stories of lives and places separate from our own. Whether it is the sun-scorched beaches of LA, or the wind-blasted coasts of Scotland’s Atlantic bracing isles, he knows the world is the same for us all – a blank canvas on which to paint.