“Joy as an Act of Resistance” by IDLES – Review
Bristol, UK 5-piece IDLES blasts its way back into the punk spotlight with the grinding, in-your- face Joy as an Act of Resistance. This album is like a vinyl record that plays a bit more slowly than it was recorded- each track maintains a steady, controlled pace while displaying the crashing cacophony of chaos IDLES is known for. Joy is a perfect example of thriving modern grunge and how, when executed well, it can reach exceptional melodic peaks.
It’s quite easy to get lost in the viciously uplifting energy the album gives off, but you would do yourself a disservice to not give it a deeper listen as well. One of the most searing examples of deep meaning underlying most of the upbeat tunes on Joy can be seen in “Love Song”. Singer Joe Talbot murmurs “It’s not about the sex n’ sex n’ sex n’ sex n’ sex n’sex/I wanna be the best ever/friend forever/best friend!” The song then explodes into a wailing, melodic chorus of distortion and raw delirious emotion. This contrast of stewing emotion and subsequent release of noise and melodic hooks works perfectly for IDLES, serving as an apt reminder for how they rose to infamy in the underground punk scene.
“Gram Rock” opens with Talbot moaning “I’m sorry your grandad’s dead/aaah, lovely spread”. This dark, tongue and cheek line is a good example of how perfectly his lyrics work with the backing track; they’re the metaphorical track under a rollercoaster ride through angsty contemplation, the upbeat instrumentation serving as a the speed propelling you towards the end of a wild ride.
Indeed, Joy as an Act of Resistance doesn’t slow down until it’s over. If you’re looking for a ripping, grimy punk album with major AOTY potential in basements everywhere, checking out this album is a good move.
Score: Talbot screaming “la- LA LA LA LA”/10