These Bris­to­lian post-punks’ lyrics cut bone-deep

Metal Hammer (UK) - - New Noise -

‘The Best way

to scare a Tory is to read and get rich’ – pulling no punches as to their po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions and as un­apolo­getic as any band (punk, rock or metal) be­fore them, Idles’ ar­rival on the UK mu­sic scene is strong em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence that ex­treme po­lit­i­cal land­scapes pro­duce great art. But where other bands merely pad­dle in the muddy wa­ters of so­cial thought,

Idles sub­merge them­selves en­tirely.

“The dish of the day is pol­i­tics,” says front­man Joe Tal­bot. “But you can’t just say, ‘We’re a po­lit­i­cal band’ – what do you be­lieve in? Spell ref­er­en­dum!”

Pos­sessed of a sar­donic wit that evokes the punk spirit of ’77 while welding it to a more mod­ern, vis­ceral tone, Idles take the venom of hard­core, the so­cial in­jus­tice in­spi­ra­tion and post-punk in­to­na­tion of Sleaford Mods, and add a crunch­ing metal­lic twist to cre­ate some­thing truly left-field.

But then, what else would you ex­pect from a band that formed from the dy­ing em­bers of the Bris­tol in­die scene? Not be­cause Idles felt a part of it, of course – quite the op­po­site. This is a group of peo­ple who never felt at home, er, at home, and they are now ably blaz­ing their own trail. “The bands we were sur­rounded by didn’t re­ally rep­re­sent us – they were a bunch of rich kids with nice gui­tars who weren’t writ­ing about any­thing to our in­ter­ests,” Joe notes. In what would become a sta­ple ap­proach, the band tack­led the is­sue head-on. Their sound wasn’t crafted overnight, how­ever. “For a while we were writ­ing what we thought we should write, rather than what we wanted to,” he ex­plains. “It evolved into some­thing heav­ier later on and felt more cathar­tic, more us.”

“When I dis­cov­ered metal, I found my first real con­nec­tion with mu­sic,” adds rhythm gui­tarist Lee Kier­nan. “Peo­ple don’t re­alise how much melody there is within metal. It’s not all thrash. Per­son­ally, I’m a huge 80s fan. I love bands like Def Lep­pard… I even love

Bon Jovi. The guy’s a ge­nius: a pop, rock, metal ge­nius!”

Love for Jon-Bon

or no, Idles’ mu­sic is a world away from the 80s sta­dium-fillers. Yet, it still pos­sesses enough fire to ig­nite au­di­ences to such an ex­tent that the band have en­joyed not only a mostly sold-out UK tour, but a string of ap­pear­ances at most of the UK’s big­gest fes­ti­vals. “It was an hon­our to play Down­load,” Lee adds.

“It’s Glas­ton­bury, but catered to a very dif­fer­ent au­di­ence...”

With a vis­ceral, ap­pro­pri­ately an­gu­lar de­but al­bum in Bru­tal­ism and a rep­u­ta­tion for fre­netic live per­for­mances (“I’d rather some­one come away from our shows think­ing ‘That was fuck­ing hor­ri­ble’ than say ‘That was OK’,” Joe says), Idles are the full, right­eous pack­age. But, fu­ri­ous though the band may be, they don’t ex­clude any­one from en­joy­ing their gigs.

“It’s not OK to at­tack any­one, no mat­ter what they be­lieve in. Ev­ery­one should be able to ex­press them­selves freely. If Theresa May came to one of our shows, it would still be her safe space!”

It’s a nice ges­ture, but we’re not to­tally sure she’ll be tak­ing you up on that any time soon, fel­las.

Idles: the sound­trackto your next rally

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