Caus­tic punk rock with a flour­ish of wit and sen­si­tiv­ity.

Q (UK) - - Incoming - RACHEL AROESTI

For Fans Of: Sleaford Mods, Slaves, Iceage Get This Track: Mother

I’m just a re­ally sim­ple man,” says Idles vo­cal­ist Joe Tal­bot, be­fore smartly pon­tif­i­cat­ing on ev­ery­thing from Tory cuts to au­thor Mar­garet At­wood and the po­etic lean­ings of Muham­mad Ali. It’s not only his con­ver­sa­tion that puts paid to the claim. As a band, Idles make blis­ter­ing gui­tar mu­sic that off­sets its fury with wit, in­tel­li­gence and sen­si­tiv­ity. De­spite hav­ing only re­leased their de­but al­bum, Bru­tal­ism, last year, Idles formed back in 2009, shortly af­ter Tal­bot and bassist Adam Devon­shire be­gan run­ning a club night to­gether. They were soon joined by drum­mer Jon Beavis and gui­tarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kier­nan, but de­spite put­ting out two EPs of caus­tic punk didn’t ven­ture much out­side their Bris­tol DIY scene bub­ble un­til a cou­ple of years ago. Back­stage at Lon­don’s Heaven, where the group are wrap­ping up their sold-out UK tour, the 33- year-old singer is tot­ting up the perks of late-on­set suc­cess. “One, we ap­pre­ci­ate it more,” he says be­tween puffs on a vape. “Two, we got to make loads of mis­takes and not be crit­i­cised in a crip­pling way.” Thirdly, Tal­bot points to his ear­lier he­do­nis­tic lifestyle, “I wouldn’t have toured well when I was 24 be­cause I was mas­sively into stuff that would’ve prob­a­bly killed me.” Like a post-hard­core Billy Child­ish, Tal­bot howls his way through a se­ries of stark, seething state­ments over clank­ing gui­tars

and pum­melling drums on Bru­tal­ism. The al­bum is heavy in more ways than one: on it, Idles tackle sub­jects in­clud­ing misog­yny, de­pres­sion and grief. For Bru­tal­ism’s fol­low-up, out later this year, the band will be adding the prob­lems of toxic mas­culin­ity – or, as Tal­bot puts it, “a trope of crap that you teach your­self ” – to that list. An­other topic they’re keen to talk about is Brexit. Tal­bot be­lieves that Ex­eter, a song that con­nects the te­dium of his home­town with the sense­less vi­o­lence of its in­hab­i­tants, has struck a par­tic­u­lar chord with fans. “Coven­try, Black­pool, there’s fuck-all to do there. The peo­ple who came to our shows from those places are at a point of frus­tra­tion,” he says. “They want some­thing new, ie, Brexit.” Tal­bot says he cried about the ref­er­en­dum re­sult, but due to the band’s grow­ing fan­base in those ar­eas now feels like a “mouth­piece of a group of peo­ple that are marginalised”, some­thing that’s made him less com­bat­ive and more un­der­stand­ing when it comes to pol­i­tics. “Now I’m on a big­ger plat­form, I can­not en­cour­age peo­ple to be like, ‘Fuck you, you’re racist.’ Just be­cause their be­liefs may seem racist, doesn’t mean they are in­nately hate­ful to­wards that race, it just means they’re ter­ri­fied, they’re poor and they want change.” On­stage that evening at Lon­don’s Heaven, Tal­bot is keep­ing his prin­ci­ples at the fore­front of the ju­bi­lantly sweaty pun­ters’ minds, speak­ing about the pos­i­tives of im­mi­gra­tion and ded­i­cat­ing a song to the NHS as the band roar through their de­but. Through­out, Idles cre­ate an at­mos­phere that com­bines in­can­des­cent punk rage with a real sense of com­pas­sion – even Tal­bot would have to agree, do­ing that is far from sim­ple.

“I wouldn’t have toured well when I was 24 be­cause I was into stuf f that would have prob­a­bly killed me.” Joe Tal­bot

Bet­ter late then never: Idles (from left) Joe Tal­bot, Mark Bowen, Adam Devon­shire, Lee Kier­nan and Jon Beavis.

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