Album of the Week: IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance

What more can we say about IDLES?

To understand the rabid fascination with IDLES I suggest seeing them live, but a couple of listens to their two albums will do the trick as well. Their live show is something to behold, frantic and crazed, but with IDLES you are always amongst family. As for music, they’ve followed up an amazing debut record – “Brutalism” with an even stronger sophomore album in  “Joy as an Act of Resistance“.

I am hesitant to use the word preach here, but IDLES certainly aren’t without a message. In fact the message is integral to who they are a s band. Their rallying cry is ALL IS LOVE and their fans take this seriously by bonding and treating each other with respect and embracing vulnerability in the community.

Frontman Joe Talbot looks like someone you would not want to meet in a dark alley, but Joe wears his heart permanently on his sleeve. He willingly shares emotion and weakness as a cathartic way to deal with someone he once was. He even had his mother’s ashes pressed into a limited number of copies of IDLES first album “Brutalism”. Perhaps this is what draws people in, especially in times like these.

The songs take on topics like toxic masculinity, nationalism, immigration, and class inequality, and although the music is aggressive and angry, lyrically the songs are permeated with hope and vulnerability. Talbot’s lyrics can be equally jagged and rough, but he can gut you with one line such as:

“Baby shoes for sale: never worn

from “June” a song about his daughter Agatha, who was born stillborn in June 2017.

Or on “Samaritans” where he tackles toxic masculinity:

I’m a real boy
Boy, and I cry
I like myself
And I want to try
This is why you never see your father cry




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One foot in the door
The other one in the gutter

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