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September 3, 2002

We Were Young & Needed the Money

Rarities albums are usually reserved for major-label acts looking for a shortcut out of a contract. For Idaho this release marks a more sanguine occasion -- despite countless lineup changes and bum deals, the Los Angeles band has made the ten-year mark. So out of the vaults come tumbling seventeen B-sides and studio castoffs, thoughtfully arranged to flow like the proper follow-up to last year's haunting Levitate. It's not difficult to see why bleak dirges such as "Come Over" were locked up until now, yet this set also carries some moments of genuine inspiration: vast melodic vistas burn through the layers of feedback on "Shoulder Back," while singer Jeff Martin's malaise breathlessly courses through the winning "Social Studies." But the uninitiated need not apply; this set is designed squarely for those already familiar with Idaho's transformation from a perpetually hungover sad-core outfit to astonishingly accomplished purveyors of emotional indie rock. For those who have stuck by the band, it's the ultimate anniversary present.


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