Sometimes the title of a record really sets the tone for what you are about to put into your ears. For Bristol post-punk outfit Idles it seems like the name of their debut record Brutalism is a very fitting title.
Right from the opening gritty riff of ‘Heel/Heal’ the punk rockers embark on a full of onslaught of politically charged, refreshingly confrontational music. As well as bringing the unsettling reality of the world into their frantic assault on the senses, Idles also deliver an element of nostalgia to their music, throwing back to a time when angry music was about rebelling and standing up to authority.
There is a very British feel Brutalism, something that, in my opinion, has not been so well displayed in punk rock since Gallows Orchestra of Wolves came bounding into the world. Although, admittedly some of the lyrics are a bit questionable at times – ‘Well Done’ springs to mind, particularly “Mary Berry’s got a job, so why don’t you get a job” just doesn’t sit well with me.
It’s tracks like ‘Divide & Conquer’ and ‘Rachel Khoo’ that really manage to display the Bristol bands pedigree and grit. Showing why so many people have tipped them for success in 2017. And while some elements don’t manage to particularly resonate with me, it’s hard not to appreciate that sonic edge of those rough guitars and bass ripping through Brutalism‘s melodies.
Ironically it is when the band slow things down that they probably display their best work. Closing track ‘Slow Savage’ is a masterclass of aggression getting over without having to be hard and fast. The haunting noise of Joseph Talbot’s screams over the delicate sound of piano keys really makes the track sound out from a crowd in the album which brings elements of politics, love, humour and passion.
Some punk rock purists may not be the biggest fan of Idles, but Brutalism is a message of intent from the band. They have a message and they are going to shout it loud and clear for all to hear.
Brutalism is out on March 10th via Balley Records.