Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance

– A Celebration of Vulnerability –

The highly anticipated second album by Idles is pure vigour underneath a bunch of songs where the guts, the cries and the sing & shout still prevail from their outstanding debut Brutalism.

The Bristol based outfit’s new record, Joy as an Act of Resistance, is due on Friday 31st August under the wings of Partisan Records.

The death of the loved ones is, unfortunately, still present. If Brutalism saw light in the wake of the demise of singer Joe Talbot’s mother, Joy as an Act of Resistance regrets the one of his new-born daughter.

Yet, this album is much more about mindfulness than nihilism, which Talbot claims to be totally against. Thus, there’s plenty of room for hope, optimism and clear-headed irony. “I think humour’s a really great vehicle for inclusivity”, as singer explained in the above-linked interview. In fact, beyond personal relationships, that ‘act of resistance’ has a lot to do with political/social affairs such as Brexit, immigration and also the old-fashioned idea of masculinity.

Produced by Space and mixed by Adam Greenspan & Nick Launay (Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kate Bush), it might not have such an impact on the first listen as their debut, but as you dig in the circumstances surrounding the album, you inevitably empathise with the band and sympathise with the message (“Love yourself”, “Go with your flaws”?). Take, for instance, ‘June’; a heart-breaking, grief-stricken ballad. “Baby shoes, for sale, never worn”. There can’t be anything worse in this world. You don’t have to be a mother or father: you just picture the painful scene and crumble.

But, as said, the album has some funny songs with the now distinguishable Idles sound as well. ‘I’m Scum’ is pure joy-oi! punk. A song to, literally, hit the floor.

Speaking of literalism, the opening tune, ‘Colossus’ –the one that followed the superb first single ‘Danny Nedelko’; is simply overwhelming, not to mention its wild reprise –meticulously made to go nuts, and that is so healthy!

In their particular way, that is, a cheeky-attitude-ferociously-funny, you can’t help laughing as you read song titles such as ‘Never Fight a Man with a Perm’.

Anyway, ‘Samaritans’ is the one that seriously deals with this controversial topic.’“This is why you never see your father cry…”. Along with a forceful, slow-burning song, they question a whole establishment built upon a certain prototype of man. It is also worth mentioning the instrumental twist followed by an eloquent nod to Katy Perry’s famous smash: “I kissed a boy and I liked it!”.

As for ‘Danny Nedelko’, what a hit! Musically, it provides the perfect vibes for a glorious night of panic and fun down at the pub.

Regarding Danny himself, the “beautiful immigrant”, he embodies what this album is all about: World is evil, Brexit is pure shit. So, what can we do as an individual? Well, spread love and smile. Build a community out of joy. That’s what real citizenship should be about, right? Thanks for the clarity (and the lovely music video too), Idles.

Furthermore, can a ‘Love Song’ be obscure and sweet at the same time? Of course it can! It’s not only the fact that both theme and lyrics are ace, as it talks about much more than “only sex, sex, sex, sex…”. It praises honesty, genuine friendship and true, “modern love”. Plus, it’s easy to foresee epic live shows judging by songs like these!

‘Television’ reveals a clear message: “Love Yourself”. Again, the truest punk band from Bristol brings us a healthy rage propeller –same as ‘Great’ or ‘Gram Rock’; where the latter points out our reluctance to speak openly about death, especially the closest ones. The surprising thing is that they manage to address such matter and quote Harry Potter’s imaginary in the same song. And it works. Bravo.

‘Cry To Me’ is another weird ballad, dark yet strangely sexy. “I will hold you until everything’s all right”. Talbot tries to escape loneliness in this song, always with that irreverent touch in his guttural voice. 100% “loveable”, indeed.

The rebellious joy comes to an end with ‘Rottweiler’, a very Idles song in terms of rhythm, tempo and, needless to say, guts. This catchy tune is ideal for wild mosh pits. Take the raucous instrumental outro, with powerful messages/shouts: “Keep going! Smash it! Destroy it! Burn your house down!” Hello, mayhem. Feeling better already?

Personally, if the discovery of Brutalism became the perfect original soundtrack for my anger, I find Joy as an Act of Resistance as the main theme of hope.

You’re right, I just fuckin’ love this band.

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Amaia Santana

Good karma brought me here to Manchester, my second home, where you can stay healthy (despite the weather) and young forever, as you can breathe live music in every corner of the city. I do believe in the healing power of music (rock is my life vest) and I'd be so glad to share my passion with you rockers of the world!