The New Idea Society

I’ve had this one pending for so long that any original thought Brooklyn’s New Idea Society may have had, is probably now as dated as a Paul Nicholas prime-time comedy.  However, it was a lack of such an original thought that bugged me in the first place, followed by repeated listens and an equal number of reappraisals, that had me confused, undecided and reluctant to commit fingers to keys in review.

On first listen, the conspiracist in me noted that not only is the title of “The World is Bright and Lonely” uncannily similar to Bright Eyes’ “I’m Wide Awake it’s Morning” (and contain the same amount of syllables AND contain the word ‘Bright’!!) but the songs within bear more than a passing resemblance to Conor Oberst’s 2005 masterpiece - best exemplified on the title track (no. 9 of 12) an 8 minute coupling of acoustic guitar and mainman Mike Law’s oh-so-earnest voice. But whereas there's not a single word wasted on “I’m Wide Awake…”, it’s the lyrics on “Bright and Lonely…” that weigh it down and perhaps disguise its better qualities.

Exhibit A. Track 3. Don’t Sleep
“After all this time. I don’t want to go to sleep coz I’ll sleep when I die. You are divine. So I am going to make you mine” - Don’t Sleep

Or this little piece of cod philosophy on Dress Shirt.
“I knew where I was and I was lost”

Such nuggets leap out on the first few plays and led me to dismiss it, as has already been mentioned, as a mere Bright Eyes imitation.  But on repeated listens, such a dismissal does the album a disservice. Get beyond the words and you have 12 nicely crafted songs that are varied in tone and tempo. It’s an album that is easy enough to listen to but has plenty of subtle guitar, piano and organ touches woven within to stop it sloping off into out-and-out dullness.

So I’ll now be looking out with interest for future projects from Law and his New Idea Society, certainly more so than any future projects Paul Nicholas has in mind, unless, that is, he appears as a foul-mouthed drunkard in the next Shane Meadows movie.