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IDLES – ‘Brutalism’ Album Review

IDLES – Brutalism

idlesIt’s not often that we do this here at Punk Online but we have been listening and repeat listening for almost a month to this superb album. From Bristol, England, Idles have been building quite a reputation since they formed in 2010 and their latest release Brutalism is simply magnificent.

Opening with Heel where a pounding drum-beat underpins a raucous guitar and aggressive/angry vocals, it is clear that we are in for a treat. On Well Done, the fantastic lyrics with super delivery focus on the parental/societal pressure to “do well, win a medal and get a job” and then delivers a chorus stating that “I’d rather cut my nose off” – the track drips with pointed irony and the rhythmic guitars, feedback and fast paced sections just add to the atmosphere of angst and disillusionment.

Mother channels the Sleaford Mods with a throbbing bass line, pulsating drums, screeched guitars and conversational style vocals. Idles have carved out a unique approach where the lyrics are simply standout – “The best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich” just a sample of the angry and pointed approach – and there are plenty more where those came from – brilliant stuff.

The fuzzed bass, spoken word approach continues on Date Night with the song developing into a full on aural assault with some super lyrics that reminded me at times of Half Man Half Biscuit in humor. The 13-track album is the best thing we’ve heard this year tapping into the bleak moral landscape of Tory run and impending Brexit Britain. 1049 Gotho starts at a breakneck pace with guitars battling for prominence over the ever-present and excellent drums and it keeps up the speed throughout. At the half-way point, Idles give us Divide & Conquer, as they take on the cuts to Britain’s National Health Service with a pulsating track that crosses New Model Army with Gallows.

Rachel Khoo brings in a melodic chorus interspersed with a fantastic urgent verse structure. I simply can’t describe how well the music, vocals and lyrics compliment each other to create something quite excellent but, trust me, this is one special album.  Idles create a humorous lyrical lament on Stendhal Syndrome as they take the piss out of serious/snobby art critics – “hot air” they exclaim!

Exeter changes tact with an accessible guitar riff and snarled vocals and the song changes direction two thirds of the way through (Idles are not afraid to change mid song).  The penultimate track, White Privilege opens with a great set of lyrics that Class War would be proud of as the rich and privileged are attacked. There is even a Beatles section in an Idles impersonation but the humor gives way to anger and aggression.

Closing up the almost perfect thirteen song package is Slow Savage where a heartbeat drum beat recorded 13 leagues beneath the sea is joined by a plaintive keyboard and then those signature shouted/snarled vocals join in the party. The track is personal “I’m the worst lover you’ll ever have” and depressing yet manages to pack in some dark humor that left me with a smile.

Brutalism is available on iTunes/Amazon and all of the usual outlets – check out the band here – you won’t regret this one:



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