IDLES: Joy as an Act of Resistance (Partisan) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Joy as an Act of Resistance


Aug 31, 2018 IDLES Bookmark and Share

With last year’s Brutalism, Bristol, England’s IDLES invited us into a world of sharply angled, wryly comic, remarkably humane rock. It’s not often in recent times that a band turns up and turns things inside out. IDLES, however, are a very special proposition indeed and they’re here to change the world for the better through the inestimable power of punk rock, positivity, and community.

A legitimately feminist, socialist group who wear their checkered histories and hearts on their tattoo-sleeves, Idles are led by the very normal, conversely talismanic Joe Talbot, whose arms-in-the-air lyrics and manically joyous melodies infect this brutal, bruised, beautiful record to its astounding core.

Like hearing Nirvana’s Bleach or even Faith No More’s Angel Dust for the first time (Talbot shares some inflections with the brilliant Mike Patton, guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan are clearly in love with the early Sub Pop sound), Joy as an Act of Resistance is revelatory from first to last. Both ludicrously enjoyable and awesomely inspiring, it’s the sound of a band surging into the future without a millisecond to waste, ideas exploding out of every single moment of recorded sound.

Two-part lead single “Colossus” bridges gothic drama (“I am my father’s son/His shadow weighs a ton”) and hyper-anthem overdrive (“I’m like Stone Cold Steve Austin/I put homophobes in coffins”), while the overwhelmingly majestic “I’m Scum” boasts “I’m lefty/I’m soft/I’m minimum wage job” with the exact amount of relish listeners will feel on hearing it.

The album’s fucked, broken heart comes with “June,” which focuses on the death of a child but still manages to come out fighting, Talbot chanting “I’ll mend/I’ll mend/Amen” against the metallic, dense shroud of his band’s music.

Recent single “Danny Nedelko” is a legit hit; perhaps the only vehemently pro-immigrant one of recent years and it’s all the more invigorating for it. “COMMUNITY SO FUCK YOU” spells out Talbot at the song’s glorious, cacophonous conclusion and the temptation to start a pit in the living room is tangible.

Joy as an Act of Resistance (and who, pray tell, can resist a title like that?) is one of the defining moments in modern punk and, with any justice, will stand as a testament to the working classes of the world and prove that new rock music is still being produced that can reach into your chest, tear out your heart-and then give you a great big hug that makes you feel like everything might just be alright in the end. (

Author rating: 9/10

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