The Birthday Suit

A Conversation Well Rehearsed

(Sing It Alone)

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If there was a sense that Rod Jones was marking time with The Birthday Suit's debut album, The Eleventh Hour, while Idlewild were on "indefinite hiatus", then this follow-up is ample proof that his new band has everything it takes to go it alone. Time and time again throughout Idlewild's up-and-down career, the guitarist demonstrated a wonderful feel for melody within the noisy contours of rock. Here he moves the template forwards not sideways, developing the sound rather than producing copycat variations. Uh-Huh Uh-Huh gets things going with vocals that are Futureheads-tight and guitars that deliver the crisp bite of early Therapy?; Wait For The River catches a breath of the folksy winds that passed through Idlewild's later albums; and Out Of This World doubles up those meticulous vocal harmonies through verse and chorus. Jones doesn't get the credit he deserves as a singer but, to tell the truth, it's as a songwriter that he shines – and A Conversation Well Rehearsed features some of his best work to date.

Alan Morrison