Joy as an Act of Resistance is the new album from Post-Punk outfit IDLES. These guys burst onto the scene last year with debut Brutalism, which delivered a brand of socially-charged outburst of thunderous riffage that really sat well with me and my ears. Now, coming back with a follow up much earlier than expected, they look to overthrow the ideology of masculinity and what it means to “be a man”, and the result is something that is so very good indeed.
‘Colossus’ kicks off the record with an instrumental that chugs with thick guitars, beefy drums and an underlying sense of doom. Frontman Joe Talbot’s performance seemingly unhinges as he details the weight he feels of being his father’s son, while also offering a hook in the continuous GOES AND IT GOES AND IT GOES that’s proper fun to chant along to. The song falls into a deep silence once it reaches peak tension levels and after a pause, lets loose with an old school breakdown that name drops Stone Cold Steve Austin, Evel Knieval and even homophobes. Proper giving off a range of topics for everyone to sink their teeth into.
This blend of socially-charged commentary with pop culture references continue with ‘Never Fight A Man With A Perm’, which pairs up a stodgy riff with the chorus of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’. For a song that calls out the generic meathead at gyms who are referred to as ‘walking thyroids’, throwing a reference to that particular song is genius, really.
Joy as an Act of Resistance is a record that brings a lot of the hardcore elements from Brutalism to ensure it maintains the band’s high level of…brutal riffage, but packs it with lyricism that wholeheartedly calls out masculinity without becoming too heavy. Tracks such as ‘I’m Scum’ are self-deprecating beyond belief, but feature a chorus that’s upbeat to the point of being ironic, while ‘Love Song’ comes across as anything but.
The way that IDLES have produced a record that’s so aggressively bold with it’s instrumental but feature lyrics that offer up emotion alongside the accusatory theme on the overall idea of masculinity is brilliant. An example of this contrast is ‘Samaritans’, which sums it all up perfectly. Joy as an Act of Resistance is excellent, and certainly provides an insight into a topic that so desperately needs to be spoken about. IDLES can seemingly do no wrong.