ALBUM: IDLES – ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’

WORDS BY MARIA PASSINGHAM

IDLES are on the warpath. But it’s a warpath lined with glitter bombs rather than the more traditional, explosive type, and they’re marching with smiles on their faces and their arms wide open. ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ is the much anticipated second album from Bristol’s most talked about punk act, out Friday 31st August on Partisan Records and boy, is it good.

The record’s first single and opener ‘Colossus’ establishes the subsequent forty minutes as a no-shits-given parade. All at once the album protests all manner of modern politics and social views whilst still remaining overwhelmingly positive and infused with love for fellow mankind. Starting with simple clock-ticking style drumsticks and a heavy distorted repetitive chord, the opener builds and builds into an ominous noisy climax, making sure if you’re listening – you’re bloody well listening. No passive, Spotify radio-browsing, wannabes here please.

Steadily working their way through class divides, immigration, masculinity, the NHS, advertising, love, and everything in between IDLES punch holes in the status-quo. The lyrics flit between disarmingly honest and heavily ironic, but true to the album’s title and the band’s signature style, the songs are joyful anthems; simultaneously calling out established, dangerous ideas and championing those that they prefer.

From the simple, super tight ‘Television’ that confronts media-enforced ideas of beauty and instead commands you to “love yourself” to the take down alpha male ideals in ‘Samaritans’ the Bristol five-piece sugar-coat nothing, yet retain an utter sweetness and charm across the album.

“THE MASK OF MASCULINITY
IT’S A MASK THAT’S WEARING ME
I’M A REAL BOY, BOY AND I CRY”

IDLES are pros at keeping you on your toes. If you dare to drift away, a sudden change in tempo or rhythm, or a switch from sung monologues to shouted refrains will snap you back to attention. If you can’t keep up with the relentless pop culture references you’ll be left by the wayside in no time (although probably one of the IDLES guys will rush back to make sure you’re not seriously hurt – checking on the crowd’s safety and happiness is a trademark of their live shows).

‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ makes you want to fight and proclaim your love for the humans around you at the same time. It’s a battle cry for the modern man, where the battle is against the media and the politics that run through it. It’s a solid-as-a-rock second offering from what has to be the UK’s finest punk band right now. So why don’t you buy the record? Even Tarquin’s bought the record.

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