“Rowdy” Roddy Piper once said “Just when you think you have all the answers, I CHANGE THE QUESTIONS!” Piper’s quote fits Idles perfectly. Not only do they like wrestling, but just when you think you’ve got them sussed, they pull a U-Turn and you’re left scratching your head as to what happened.
Lead single, an opener, ‘Colossus’ exemplifies this. As an album opener its a beast, scratch that, a monster of a track. Huge hulking riffs and guttural vocals dominate it. The final third slows everything down before going off in a different direction at twice the speed, with a load of wrestling references to boot.
‘Never Fight a Man With a Perm’, ‘Gram Rock’, ‘Great’ and ‘I’m Scum’ are tongue in cheek attacks on societal clichés, toxic masculinity, Brexit, class, along with love, loss and redemption all with a pile-driving rhythm section.
The album closes with ‘Rottweiler’. Like ‘Colossus’ the final third is a brutal blast of pent up aggression that asks more than it answers and delivers a fitting end to an album that establishes Idles as a band you don’t want to piss off.
Despite the visceral joy and catchy melodies of the music; it's Joseph Talbot’s lyrics that are the main event. Part social commentary, stand-up routine and motivational quotes lyrics like “You are a Top Shop tyrant, Even your haircuts violent”, “I’m like Stone Cold Steve Austin, I put homophobes in coffins”; “My blood brother’s Freddie Mercury, A Nigerian mother of three“ and “We don’t need another murderous toff, I’m just wondering where the high street gone”, will have you cracking up, but like all good jokes, you’re left wondering if it was aimed at you.
The power of ‘Joy As An Act Of Resistance.’ is how it shows society itself in a mirror. Sometimes it’s a bathroom mirror in the morning too bright and over exposed, another time it’s a makeup mirror in a car you struggle just to catch a glimpse of yourself and other times it’s a fairground mirror and everything is distorted and grotesque. But each time you have look yourself in the eye and take stock for your actions.
This is a band to get excited about. Very, VERY, excited about!
Words: Nick Roseblade
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