WHEN a musician says they don’t listen to their records, you might wonder why anyone else should. So it’s a good sign that Roddy Woomble, frontman of Idlewild for almost 25 years, gives house-room to new album Interview Music.

Their second LP since a four-year break at the start of the decade, it’s the sound of a band back in love with itself, one bristling with ideas they’re eager to share.

It more than vindicates the decision of Woomble, guitarist Rod Jones and drummer Colin Newton to return to making music together in 2014.

And unlike 2015’s solid Everything Ever Written, it’s their first record where new members Luciano Rossi and Andrew Mitchell – aka acclaimed young composer Andrew Wasylyk – were fully integrated into the song-writing unit.

“I’ve been going back to Interview Music more and more,” Woomble says.

“It really works as an album and fizzes with a good kind of energy. There are a lot of ideas crammed on to there. With repeated listens, it does bring more and more stuff out of it.”

Speaking from his home in Mull, Woomble says he’s glad the band held off releasing the record in 2017, as was their original plan.

Begun in Los Angeles in spring 2016, it was completed in November 2018 at Post Electric, the studio Jones runs in Leith, with the help of Dave Eringa, the producer behind much of the band’s best-known songs.

Bringing focus to their experiments, Eringa helped shape the Janus-like quality of Interview Music, a record which looks forward to new possibilities while acknowledging their edgier, DIY origins.

Whether intentionally or not, that sentiment is echoed in Bad Logic, a slacker-punk track based around a William Morris quote: “The past is not dead, it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make.”

“That song was built around the idea of carrying your past wherever you go,” explains Woomble. “That can be a positive thing, it’s not necessarily negative.”

Dream Variations and Same Things Twice, the two singles so far, embody those elements: the first a cracking space rock jam hewn to a tight melody, the second a dignified update on their early sound.

That punky racket memorably inspired one journalist to froth how the then young Edinburgh band made the “sound of a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs”.

“That stayed with us for years, that quote,” says Woomble warmly. “By the mid noughties, we were quite an accomplished rock band.

“But it was a positive thing. That’s what people found exciting about the band. It was very chaotic from the audience point of view and from the band point of view. And it was magical sometimes.”

Sparks of magic fly off this new record, the band’s chemistry shaken up by Rossi, who studied jazz, and Mitchell, solo artist and frontman of Dundee’s Hazey Janes, immediately “clicking” with the band.

“Lucci is a fantastic musician, as is Andrew, though he’s more from the self-taught school like the rest of Idlewild,” says Woomble.

He adds: “All of what we do came from playing with each other. We were punk rock kids when we were 18 who wanted to be in a band and make a lot of noise.”

Despite their tenure, Woomble says there are no expectations for Interview Music.

“Things change so much and we have no idea how it will go,” he says.

“At the moment we just want people to listen to the record. All of us are quite proud of it.”

May 4, Barrowlands, Glasgow;
May 5, Music Hall, Aberdeen