IDAHO - “This Way Out” (Quigley)

Whereas Idaho’s debut album, ‘Year After Year’, re­sembled a warm, slow crawl through the ether, en­countering every negative emotion you could ever possibly experience, ‘This Way Out’ is a considerably more developed record. It explores pastures new whilst also retaining some of the gracefully sombre, atmospheric attributes of its predecessor.

With the departure of guitarist John Berry, This Way Out’ is effectively a solo-LP by talented multi-instrumentalist, Jeff Martin. It’s also a record which seems to be a deeply personal diary of recent events in Martin’s life. On ‘Drop Off’, he sings about a strained relationship with a friend (Berry?): “With all this pride and hopelessness inside I know it’s hard to let your demons go “.

Berry’s addiction to heroin, it seems, was the main reason behind the break up of their musical partnership, but you sense that Martin still feels enormous pangs of guilt over his departure: “You are my friend/ I know I’ll see you again/just don’t drop off like the rest of them”.’

The haunting ‘Glow’ envelopes a similar theme: “The songs are cool but they hurt to sing”, muses Martin despondently. Elsewhere, there are a few hints at some possible future changes of direction. ‘Fuel’ and ‘Crawling Out’ roll along with a raucous abandon never previously witnessed in Idaho’s music. Codeine comparisons can now be unceremoniously dumped in the rubbish bin. Gone are the precise, meticulously mapped-out soundscapes in favour of a looser, slightly more wayward mood.