WE REVIEW THE NEW ALBUM FROM IDLES – FIVE YEARS OF BRUTALISM
Raging rock tour de force IDLES recently celebrate five years of their relentless and stirringly uncompromising debut album “Brutalism”, including ferocious live versions of the track list from Glastonbury 2022.
It’s rare for a band to burst onto the music scene quite so fiercely as IDLES did in 2017 with their debut “Brutalism” which quickly earned them critical acclaim and a steadfast fanbase. With their fearless and intelligent attacks on the Tory government and toxic masculinity combined with a blistering and intoxicating post-hardcore instrumental, it’s no shock that IDLES frontman Joe Talbot’s roaring resistance struck a chord in the hearts of the masses rightfully frustrated with the status quo.
As merciless in its honesty, as its title suggests, part of the appeal of “Brutalism” lies firmly in its bold messages and rebellion against the often-frustrating classic British courteousness and “beating around the bush”. The track “Mother” with the unforgettable line “the best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich” and chorus of Talbot simply but highly effectively screaming “mother fucker” isn’t exactly subtle. The title and lyrics of “White Privilege” and “Divide and Conquer” are less on the nose and more punching the listener straight in the face. This orchestrated with the pertinacious, pounding percussion driving this track list synthesised with blazing electric guitar creates a formidable atmosphere that rather than charming the listener almost forces them to be encapsulated in its electrifying storm.
Many of the songs from “Brutalism” with their anthemic lyrical repetition and power instrumentals sound more like a protest chant than a rock song. Particularly tracks such as the opener “Heel / Heal” and the insightful stab at religion as the opium of the masses “Faith in the City” have a war-cry-like quality to them. This is one of the many features of IDLES that makes their music perfect for the live venue experience, and part of why their performances consistently serve as a lesson to other bands on how it should be done. Their 2022 Glastonbury performance included on “Five Years of Brutalism” is the pinnacle of this and is a magnificent celebration of the bands talent for rousing an audience.
Talbots snarling vocals take centre stage in the live versions of the “Brutalism” track list, sounding bigger and better than ever as they catapult remarkably over the thunderous instrumentals. For such a searing album, a live show is what can only truly do justice to the might that is IDLES “Brutalism”. You can hear the unfaltering soul and anger put into their 2022 performance of the record blasting through the speakers, the only criticism this section of “Five Years of Brutalism” can possibly render is that it will surely make anyone who missed out on this years Glastonbury dismayed they weren’t there to hear this in person.
Arguably, IDLES are a band who are best experienced live. The perpetual potency of their music can only fully be honoured when being directly consumed by the crowds of people they’ve animated with their dynamic energy. “Five Years of Brutalism” serves as an undeniable reminder of their exhilarating explosiveness.