ALBUM REVIEW: Idles – Ultra Mono | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed


Partisan Records

Released: 25.09.20







Anger alone is a regressive thing. It rots away at people from the inside out, mangling them until they’re gnarled and unrecognisable. It can sharpen tongues and eclipse friendships, ruin lives and extinguish love. But anger, when tempered with empathy and articulated with reason and purpose, is also as powerful a weapon as humanity possesses.

Nobody knows this better than IDLES. While debut album Brutalism was as blunt as its moniker suggests, sophomore effort Joy As An Act Of Resistance embraced the might of self-love and positivity to unleash a uniquely uplifting brand of fury that catapulted the band to the heavens.

Ultra Mono once again sees the Bristolian punks assume the role of mongrel alchemists, splicing seething rage with a mantra of togetherness and hope to fashion something bigger and more urgent than themselves. The outcome, like the intent, is irresistible.

Opener War feels like coming to in the throng of a guerrilla firefight, spittle and shrapnel whizzing by you as that unquenchable beat batters away like a meteor shower on a hot tin roof. Elsewhere, recent single Model Village is a rollicking head-turner, a barbed bop that sees frontman Joe Talbot cast his beady eye and cynical wit over the cowardice of narrow-minded rurality. It’s a big tune, but that being said, everything here sounds absurdly massive. Take the magnificent Reigns, for instance. The chorus on that thing…oh my days. It is staggeringly, thunderously, shockingly huge, like going rockpooling and finding Godzilla.

IDLES drafted in esteemed hip-hop producer Kenny Beats to impart his wizardry behind the scenes on this album, and based on the evidence presented here, one can only assume that Beats is his middle name and his father was called Mr. The-Living-Crap-Out-Of-Your-Eardrums. There are no lulls, no moments of respite to speak of. This is a glorious, frenzied riot, and it is, without exception, an absolute triumph.

IDLES are back with a bang and their message is clear; everything is fucked, but it’s still not too late to tear it all down and rebuild the lot – stronger, kinder and better.


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