In just 18 months, punchy Bristolian sloganeers IDLES have ferreted their way through current consciousness with a never-ending stream of jaw-dropping, ear-bleeding shows in small venues without so much as a by-your-leave or a back catalogue to speak of. It's like the internet doesn't exist for bands like this, hard-slogging outfits with a message and a melody and a bit of gumption, the likes of which we haven't seen since Drenge, Fucked Up, Sleaford Mods or UK Subs. Years of pitching up to venues right across the UK and acknowledging their fans' existence is finally bearing fruit, as this second album ably demonstrates.
IDLES' musical template is borne out of anger, frustration with the political and social system, heartbreak (Talbot lost his daughter recently) and facing up to personal realities rather than the barrage of fake news and media pigeonholing. These days, a few might claim that this is something that many acts deem too risky to tap up for inspiration - the inner soul, its demons and dark side.
In fact IDLES' sound has elements of the aforementioned acts contained within its lineage. Barbed lyrics deal with immigration on Danny Nedelko - "Fear leads to panic, panic leads to pain, pain leads to anger, anger leads to hate" sums up the current stench pervading most news stands at the moment - while the brutal Samaritans offers up lines like "This is why you never see your father cry..". And any band that profers a track entitled Colossus needs to deliver something of gargantuan proportions and it does - five minutes-plus of reasoned chaos anyone? Try sitting through June without getting something in your eye. "Baby shoes, for sale, never worn".
None of 'Joy' lets up - it's beautiful, bludgeoning and about as beatific as a jog on the beach in places. It's also as heartfelt a dialogue you'll hear all year. The whole experience sounds like the best aural fuckoffness for ages, a scintillating battering ram of fist-pumping belters and, cliched as this may sound, a call to arms of sorts. Joy As An Act Of Resistance is guaranteed to feature in a few end of year lists.
Review by Paul Pledger