IDLES
Joy as an Act of Resistance


4.0
excellent

Review

by ramon. CONTRIBUTOR (45 Reviews)
August 31st, 2018 | 558 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: the people's champ

I pissed myself laughing a few times while listening to this album. I’m certainly not the arbiter of comedic genius but I’ve followed comedy closely for over twenty years, and I have many comedian friends. “You're one big neck with sausage hands”, “As he cries at the price of a bacon bap”, “Nothing could be sadder than a glass of wine alone”, “Be my wife”, maybe these aren’t the best examples of meticulous wit and double entendre to be found on the record but I guess that’s half the point. When the lyrics aren’t painfully entertaining, the performances are, and vice-versa. It’s not to say the record is devoid of depth and commentary; that’s arguably the core of the record. There’s just something so tickling about a band who can pull me from general indifference and empty-headedness into a world of hurt, only to binge me full of booze n’ bounty until I’m screaming to the rafters about shit I didn’t give a metric damn about hours prior. If Brutalism was the avalanche, Joy as an Act of Resistance is the determined St. Bernard sent to pull my hazy dope from the aftermath and tell me there’s a war I’m meant to be fighting in.

Irrespective of whether the war I’m gonna be fighting is of any worth to me, it’s difficult to ignore the balls-to-the-fucking-ceiling drive of this album. Unless it’s specifically the track “June” which morphs from the deliberate, repetitious hum of a distant tank to the deliberate, repetitious hum of a tank that is right next to you waving a flag of opposition, Joy as an Act of Resistance is riot after anthem after riot. Talbot’s incessant screaming about hating yourself and loving yourself and hating the system and hating the system is a persistent run-on sentence that refuses to punctuate itself lest the weight of impact being delivered in lines like “For a long old while I'm known as scum” and “'Cause I smash mirrors and fuck TV” prevent you from self-deprecating with authority and having mental intercourse with the pull of your lounge movie set. While percussive ideas are echoed from both Brutalism and even this album itself, the relentless pounding only serves to make every smart and dumb thing Talbot says feel like truth.

An untapped stream of live openers, Joy as an Act of Resistance somehow manages to one-up its predecessor in the sonic aggression sector. Maybe even to its own detriment; I’d say there isn’t a single track that isn’t lyrically intriguing but “Gram Rock” felt musically tired. An intended side-effect of its thematic content? Probably. Idles’ pairing of instrumentation and the words being spoken is bang-on in this album but a couple of the chubbier cuts feel almost pressured into putting on the pounds by Talbot. It’s a shame then that the song is my favourite on the record because it’s making me forget that there’s no shame in enjoying dumb, raucous shit every now and then. The track is a no-nonsense pounding and the contrast of an opening “I'm sorry your granddad's dead” with a closing “Ten points to Gryffindor” makes it incredibly hard to do my god-given duty of trying to complain about this record.

If anything, the record feels a bit lazy from time to time. Tracks like “Cry To Me” almost sound like they were written to be played around the 74% mark of a set so the band has freedom to swig from their goblets and crack a few jokes with each other while the audience tries to hold their fluids. It’s such a comfortable laziness though, and entering Joy as an Act of Resistance with the hopes of something brimming with musical intricacy beyond “punch a hole in that snare” is probably the wrong approach. Similarly, for all of the lyrical prowess that Talbot does possess, it is plenty clear he’s having just as much twisted fun writing John Wick one-liners as he is providing highly individual insight on sexuality, political crossfire, masculinity, wealth, and whoever or whatever might happen to be the brunt of any given analogy. The snow is ice cold, and there’s a dog with the face of a British punk frontman peering over me, and there’s saliva and hair and a mysterious keg. I’m not 100% certain what substance this fuzzy fiend is feeding me, but it tastes damn good and I’m ready to go to war.



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user ratings (262)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
hung0ver (4.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2018


2497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man this record makes my willy the big

Tunaboy45
August 31st 2018


16564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

real men cry to June

Digging: IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance

Tunaboy45
August 31st 2018


16564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Never Fight a Man With a Perm is fucking hilarious, great write up mate

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2018


2497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

possibly the song title of the year, cheers

neekafat
August 31st 2018


12178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hopefully this does more for me than the last one

Papa Universe
August 31st 2018


17249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

yeah, this album's dman fucking good. the lyrics are a little too on-the-nose, though. it's funny, but it seems like one of those "I frame it as a joke, but I 'm dead serious about this" kind of deals.

Digging: Chain Cult - Isolated

Tunaboy45
August 31st 2018


16564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think that's what I like about the lyrics, they're no bullshit and Talbot can really explore some unique song topics that was.



we don't need another murderous toff

I'm just wondering where the high street's gone


Papa Universe
August 31st 2018


17249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

still, one of the most adventurous, varieted and vicious records of the year.

Colossus, June and Television are damn fantastic

Papa Universe
August 31st 2018


17249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

unique? not so sure about that. it's more that he veils rather overused themes in a sheild of humour

Tunaboy45
August 31st 2018


16564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

idk it's not very often you have someone ranting on an album about the death of the highstreet and brylcreemed love island rejects



the humour is laid on very thick though

neekafat
August 31st 2018


12178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If the first didn't click too much with me will this?

Papa Universe
August 31st 2018


17249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

only one way to find out, neek

Tunaboy45
August 31st 2018


16564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd argue this is a touch more accessible, check Danny Nedelko and Great first and see if they do anything for you

neekafat
August 31st 2018


12178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh yeah I'm gonna check it regardless because I'm a completionist

Tunaboy45
August 31st 2018


16564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good luck! I reckon you'll enjoy it

hung0ver
August 31st 2018


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really good review mate, cracking album but I agree on Cry to Me, feels like a bit of wasted potential

neekafat
August 31st 2018


12178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hope so (:

ianblxdsoe
August 31st 2018


1896 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

love everything about this rev, the last paragraph especially. cant wait to jam this right now and to punch holes in every nearby at-risk snare drum.

Digging: IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2018


2497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers lads, hoping many snares are caved in over the coming years as the band rises in status

bgillesp
August 31st 2018


5862 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, nice album, beginning of Colossus blew me away. Gonna need another listen or two to determine my fav track though



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