By Kieran Webber
I have long argued that IDLES are one of the most important bands operating out of the UK at the moment and their single releases running up to the release of ‘Joy As An Act Of A Resistance’ has been proof of that. Each single was consistently brilliant carrying its own important message and frantic level of chaos that IDLES sit so comfortably in.
Their last release ‘Brutalism’ bought forward some important social issues and acted as a loudspeaker for a voice of a generation and mindset, a people who live by compassion, love and tranquility but are confused, angry and upset at what the world has become.
It was an unrelenting barrage of brutal honesty that was wrapped up in a bundle of cathartic energy that seemed almost infinite. After listening to the debut album it could be perceived that they wouldn’t be able to match the levels of energy on a second release. Let me tell you now, that is utter shit as ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ continues where ‘Brutalism’ left off.
The album opens with the tension building ‘Colossus’ a track that builds and builds until boiling point, just as you wait for the energy to explode all comes to a quick stop. Then as a few chords are struck the silence is replaced by a heavyweight punch to the face, the percussions swing into action, Joe Talbots gritty vocals blast through, it really is as if someone pulls the pin on a grenade. Like all songs by IDLES it is riddled in passion and raw energy, it’s an incredible opener that has the listener hooked and eager for more.
Following this is the hard hitting ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’, a track that is unrelenting in raw, unapologetic energy. Like ‘Colossus’ it carries a similar theme of toxic masculinity, tackling it in a self depreciative way, lyrics like “Brylcreem, Creatine and a bag of Charlie Sheen” burn through Talbots gritted teeth. They tackle it in a way that makes you listen and think, it’s really masterful work. The penultimate of this theme being tackled is with ‘Samaritans’ a jagged edged track that blasts the phrases and actions that are pushed onto young men, lyrics such as “Man up, sit down, chin up, pipe down, socks up, dont cry, drink up, just lie, grow some balls” hit home hard, all are phrases that I have heard.
Next up is one of the best rallying songs I have heard, ‘Danny Nedleko’ the song invites you into a world of unity, a love for all people from all walks of life. It’s a beautiful song that spreads an important message, a message this country so desperately needs. We see another example of a strong political message with ‘Great’, a post brexit track that captures the insanity of the referendum and the aftermath, but reminds us that we are a democracy and we must move forward together. Also we might get a blue passport again, exciting.
Listen to ‘Great’ here:
However, it’s not all politics as they inject an element of fun and carefree, particularly in ‘Gram Rock’ and closing track ‘Rottweiler’. It’s punk music to dance to, shake to and enjoy, fun in its purest form.
‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance’ continues the raw honesty of ‘Brutalism’ but carries a message of positivity and unification, maybe, just maybe through the IDLES we can all get through this together. Either way the album solidifies the fact that they are one of the UK’s most important bands right now and we cannot wait to see what the future brings this fantastic band.