- 12 Nov 21
IDLES Maintain Relentless Pace
None of the attempts to classify IDLES in terms of social class really comprehend them. Obsessing over that aspect overlooks a band who remain regimented, whilst distorting their own identity. Here eagerness of lyric is audaciously smeared with demented accompaniment, and perversely with more stress on melody. It’s a surprise and a relief when singer Joe Talbot wraps the record, groaning “In spite of it all/ Life is beautiful.”
For CRAWLER does what is says on the tin. The rapid 30 seconds of ‘Kelechi’ is a moaning vapidness, a damned trail head leading into the strummed entrance of ‘Progress’. The latter boasts a brief, Verve-like high, before trudging into the enveloping comedown of the record. Talbot practically oozes through producer Kenny Beats’ desk, nailing the comfortably odd balm of a drugged-out club; the magnetism and repulsion of it, avoiding daylight, sinking into a psychic haze.
The other IDLES bravely rally, until someone switches the lights off.
The Motown-style ‘The Beachland Ballroom’ and the industrial-tinged ‘The Wheel’ are trojan-horse feints at stadium singalongs, which is a fine trick. The happy hardcore call-out of ‘The New Sensation’ may bug their influential detractors, thanks to its clashing drumbeat and Rocky Horror Picture Show antics, though it’s all the better for it.
Elsewhere, ‘Meds’ is driven mercilessly by Jon Beavis’ drums, dragging out a drugged-out populace – delirious on self-help and self-delusion – and dosing them with grindcore. Live, they will be a real force, if you can snatch a ticket.