Review: Joy as an Act of Resistance

David Kennedy

UK band, IDLES, have just come up with their second LP a year after dropping “Brutalism,” and it feels like a good omen for the band and hard rock in general. “Joy as an Act of Resistance” tempers the political outrage of the band’s debut with psychotic exuberance and lots of fun.

Not that they weren’t always fun. IDLES, in spite of all the post-punk noise, are relentlessly catchy. Deep, hollow basslines bounce and jerk alongside danceable punk rock drums. Sing-song verses transition into almost tribal hooks. Joe Talbot in particular has a special gift for getting his whiskey growl to fit with singalong choruses. And the guitars add dynamic range popping in then vanishing on every track, buzzing and screaming.

Along with its fierce positivity, “Joy” is also a decidedly more focused album than “Brutalism” was. It’s an album with a mission statement of “unity,” possibly in reaction to the message of an older track “Divide and Conquer.” Talbot shouts the word unity on a couple of tracks, but especially on the ecstatic single “Danny Nedelko,” which concludes with Talbot spelling out the words “The Community of Fuck You.”

The album is also about masculinity. With lyrics like “I put homophobes in coffins,” Talbot critiques toxic masculinity in others, even though can’t resist a lyric about getting into a bar fight. This paradox of positivity comes through on the killer track “Television” as well, where Talbot opens with the lines “If someone talked to you/ the way you talk to you/ I’d put their teeth through.”

4/5

Favorite Track: Television

Listen to Joy as an Act of Resistance by IDLES below

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