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IDLES Return with an Empathetic Punk Triumph on “Joy as an Act of Resistance”

IDLES Album Review WRSU Image

On the track “Television”, front-man Joe Talbot nails into your head that “If someone talked to you the way you do to you, I’d put their teeth through. Love yourself!” IDLES’ second album, Joy as An Act of Resistance, is a forty-two minute post-Brexit adrenaline rush that consistently holds a sense of honesty and compassion.

On the positive-punk anthem “Danny Nedelko”, Talbot encourages showing love to immigrants in a time where they are often villainized or shamed, with the insightful lyric that “fear leads to panic, panic leads to pain, pain leads to anger, anger leads to hate!”

The tracks “Never Fight A Man With A Perm” and “Samaritans” approach the ridiculousness and dangers of hypermasculinity and heteronormativity (the normalization of heterosexual behavior.) While “Perm” is an energetic and humorous blast that approaches the subject with grit and charisma, “Samaritans” intuitively talks about the negative effects that shaming a man for being effeminate can really have. “This is why you never see your father cry!”, Talbot explains.

“I’m Scum” is a song that represents the forward-thinking younger generation in a millennial-hating world. Talbot tells listeners of the mighty power that the younger generation possesses by warning that “this snowflake’s an avalanche!”

“June”, which is at the center of the album’s track-list, strikes contrast to every other song on the album. Heavy, slow, and spacious instrumentation complements devastating lyrics that allude to Talbot’s experience of having a stillborn child.

While the lyrics take the forefront of the album, it would be offensive to disregard the excellent instrumentation that perfectly accompanies them. The accurately named opening track “Colossus” builds and builds into a cathartic climax of  heavy riffs and drums. The song then breaks and abruptly shifts into a fast Clash-esque punk song where Talbot declares that he will “put homophobes in coffins”.

Joy As an Act of Resistance is an uplifting punk album that mixes sharp instrumentation with some of the most memorable lyrics of the decade.

Highlights: “Colossus”, “Never Fight A Man With A Perm”, “I’m Scum”, “Danny Nedelko”, “Samaritans”

Rating: 4.5/5

Album Review By: A.J. Frigoletto