Review Summary: Hate will bring us together
Bristol is a beautiful city on a sunny day. The cider was flowing, and an array of jazz and reggae bands littered the parks and river banks. As the evening drew to a close, I persuaded my friends to accompany me to watch a band on-board the Thekla. I'd never heard Idles before. I was summoned to the gig by the Charles Darwin looking bass player Dev, who used to sing Joy Division to me as we closed-up behind the bar at Wetherspoons most nights. The gig was terrible! Although the band was tight and looked cool, the music was dreary and unimaginative. My cider and sun induced bliss was slowly drained by run-of-the-mill depressing indie music.
I don't know when or what made Idles angry, but it suits them. Brutalism expertly blends a wealth of influences together to create a vicious monster. The vocals have similar phrasing, bite and wit of a Johnny Rotten or Ian Dury. Lyrically this record shines with humorous, pseudo-political one-liners. Like a whimsy-less, self-deprecating Future of the Left.
Brutalism starts with a scream. No surrender! Like the dog who won't do what he's told, Heel sets the tone with a growl of frustration. Well Done is more playful, poking fun at celebrity cake-baker Mary Berry and cheesy R&B slinging DJ Trevor Nelson. Mother could be an anthem of the anti-tory youth in the lead-up to June's election. Date night and 1049 Gotho are the gimickless gems. Faith in the City sounds like a religious song, but could be written about a sickly-sweet wine, which is normally only consumed by Scots.
Divide and Conquer pulls on the reins with its slow and sludgy impending doom, but builds pace into the catchy Rachel Khoo and the frenetic triplets on Stendhal Syndrome. Benzocaine and White Privilege prove that Idles strength lies in fun, bass driven, fast paced, catchy punk songs. However, Exeter and Slow Savage show variety and offer a glimpse of interesting future directions the band can pursue.