A year ago Idles pulled a miracle out of their collective asses with the album Brutalism. Without any major PR or a major label, and basically fuck all in terms of followers or audience, these motherfuckers pulled so hard on their bootstraps that they lifted right to the tippy top of charts, reviews, and music news. You’d think that with the heavy punk genre they scream out like a cement wall of thick acidic noise, that their lyrics should be heartless and nihilistic. Because, you know, rock is supposed to be cool and removed. Rock stars don’t feel feelings cause feelings are dumb and stupid … or something… I don’t fucking know. Those big rock stars would either be numb to the world, wear makeup, and sing songs about hot chicks. If you did all three? You were a major fucking hit. Not anymore. How about raw empathy? How about smart fucking lyrics that dig really deep? The spotlight no longer crowns the rock star with glory but reveals the dark rings under each eye, the greyness of their skin, and their yellow teeth. Brutalism was written after Joe Talbot’s (lead singer) mother died. Now, Joy as an Act of Resistance, is written after his daughter’s death.
The album name will give you your first clue on how Joe decides to protest the cruel pain this world can sling (and, fuck me, that’s a really good fucking album name). The song “June” has one of the most heartbreaking lyrics ever penned “baby shoes for sale: never worn” and ends with the lyric “I’ll mend. I’ll mend. Amen.” But this doesn’t mean that the entire fucking album wallows in mourning. Leave that shit to the ’90s. Songs like “Never Fight A Man With A Perm” is about as serious as the title suggests. Lines stab out with a leftist venom saying “This snowflake’s an avalanche” or “I’m like Stone Cold Steve Austin, I put homophobes in coffins”. Then on the single “Colossus” the line “I am my father’s son. His shadow weighs a ton” has enough poeticism, heft, and heart to make it one of the major lines of music.
Idles’ second album shows the world that they weren’t a fluke. The reason why Idles made it, and will continue to make it, without all the spice, glitter, and swag that major labels lather onto their favourite money making machines, is because Idles is just that fucking good. Doesn’t matter what fancy mustard you throw on a hot dog, shit won’t taste like steak. Idles doesn’t need makeup, cheap love songs, or a nihilistic fucking attitude to sell themselves because they’re the real shit. Welcome to the new world of Rock & Roll, now made from shit that actually fucking matters.