Album Review : Idles – Joy as an Act of Resistance
Idles are one of the most relevant and culturally engaged punk bands to have ever existed. Touching on issues of sexuality, gender roles, nationalism both as general topics and in relation to the context of 2018, Idles can evoke the stirrings of the angry modern soul.
Despite the monstrously successful and critically acclaimed debut BRUTALISM (2017), their sophomore album does more, says more, makes me feel more. There is more texture to the instrumentals. The production has been perfected to their craft. Magical humour is left intact, but that wit comes with a sting. We can laugh at the lyrics, but we must understand that the black comedy comes from a dark place, of reality not fiction. The words that are screamed are not imagined, but a sad reflection of the current state of the world.
The drums and guitars of this record will follow the blood coursing through the veins of the body. Continuous and purposeful. The music pumps the heart and opens the lungs. The band have matured their sound and turned preconceptions on their head, offering not only 2-minute clangers but creating atmospheric punk-scapes which soak the listener from head to toe. If there could ever be a post-punk band who still channel the raw energy of Henry Rollins it is Idles. Make no mistake, Idles are NOT a post-punk band, that is akin to putting them in a prison for a crime they did not commit. They are much more. The album is so visceral in places that I wish they would make a metal record next. Yet other songs want me them to venture into a more post-rock, ambient side of things. This album has features of both but is routed in its punky edginess.
My favourite song of the record, “Great”, should be the new official anthem for the catastrophic clusterfuck that is Brexit. We need to set up an array of speakers on the cliffs of dover, but these speakers should face Britain, not Europe. The song is a slap on the wrist and reality check to a generation who will likely never hear it. I urge you, if you have any gammon-headed Grandads, play them this song. Or perhaps read it them as a poem the next time you visit? You don’t need to have voted Remain or Leave to notice the grossly inadequate job the current Government are making of Brexit.
Idles use their wit and their guile to cleverly dismantle the contradictions and pathetic novelties of hyper-nationalists who desire blue passports and complain of rising prices while simultaneously supporting something which will cause yet more rises in prices. The same people not realizing their actions are causing, inciting, and enabling great hatred and division. “Great” is a great tune which shows the current anti-fact, anti-thought, anti-change, and anti-people Britain of today. Of course, a minority, but a minority having a devastating effect.
I could list every track on this album as a stand out, I could also go into deep detail about every track, its lyrics, its composition, but it would be much better for you to experience this yourself. Lower yourself into the volcanic eruption which hath been presented. Sacrifice your body and soul to Crowley as the Moonchild and submit to the raucous sound-waves of Joy as an Act of Resistance.