Album: Joy as an Act of Resistance
Genre: Post-Punk/Punk Rock/Hardcore Punk
I don’t think anyone expected Bristol Post-Punk band “IDLES” to follow-up last year’s breakthrough album Brutalism so soon, but here we are with a new “IDLES” album titled Joy as an Act of Resistance. Their previous album Brutalism was a groundbreaking release for Punk Rock, and in a genre that has become stagnant and quite predictable, the band brought fresh new life and ideas with a new kind of rebellion against things that even the most hardcore punks wouldn’t rebel against, dragging the genre kicking and screaming to it’s much needed next level. On Joy as an Act of Resistance, the band have pushed the envelope even further. It’s got the same punch as their previous album, with hard hitting instrumentation and lead singer Joe Talbot’s razor sharp vocals and straightforward lyrics that disrupt societal norms, but this time around the band showcases their eclecticism by incorporating some elements of Noise Rock and dark melodies that at times echo Gothic Rock, and even Swans-esque cinematic buildups like on the colossal opening track appropriately titled “Colossus.” Talbot’s lyrics are even more impactful on this album, tackling topics such as classism, toxic masculinity, homophobia, and immigration, and he exposes problematic negatives all while keeping a positive and hopeful attitude, and considering how most aggressive music delves in the negative in a cynical manner, being progressively aggressive in a genuine manner isn’t easy, but “IDLES” make it look easy. This is an album that also isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, like on the personal and haunting track “June” where Talbot expresses his right to be a father despite the tragedy that has befallen him. “Samaritans” is a powerful takedown of toxic masculinity with Talbot shouting “Man up. Sit down. Chin up. Pipe down. Socks up. Don’t cry. Drink up. Just lie. Grow some balls he said.” These are all things men often hear from day one due to the irrational idea that men aren’t allowed to be emotional or sensitive, and on the same track Talbot shouts “I kissed a boy and I liked it!” referencing Katy Perry’s iconic “I kissed a girl and I liked It” lyrics. This is a topic not a whole lot of men are comfortable talking about, but Talbot speaks on it fearlessly and in a way that is extremely thought provoking. This is one of the many topics included on this album, and they’re all passionately expressed equally like the track “Danny Nedelko” which is named after the Ukrainian frontman of the British Punk band “Heavy Lungs,” and this track speaks on how we’re all equal beings regardless of our race or origins. “Scum” finds Talbot owning all the names and labels people throw at him and defending his left leaning beliefs. “This snowflake’s an avalanche” Talbot claims, and you better believe it. This whole album is beyond perfection. It is a groundbreaking release that not only Post-Punk, Punk Rock, or Rock in general needs, but what the whole music world needs. The boys have made an instant classic with important subject matter that everyone needs to hear, and they do it without being too political or preachy. It’s a mirror they hold up to us, and it’s time for us to start thinking and loving.
Written By: Steven Sandoval