2019, Music

Joy as an Act of Resistance (2019) by IDLES

This is an extremely Fall-influenced UK post punk/punk record. IDLES feel like the logical extension of The Fall, taking their formula and making it way punkier, less noisy and more structured, with a clear influence of post hardcore. Maybe IDLES are like what The Fall would have been if they had evolved out of hardcore instead of the original, first wave of punk. Or maybe not.

Obviously the lyrics are extremely different, and I think you can definitely say IDLES are not actually imitating The Fall in part because the lyrical bent is so clearly different – with IDLES being a lot more sincere. That certainly helps me.

There’s a lot less stylistic range than The Fall but that makes sense as IDLES are a rock band at heart, rather than some art project that is making music. This a band with a fair amount of muscle but there’s also a relatively stylistic diversity, compared with a lot of punk music. I hear a tiny bit of a sludge metal influence on one song and otherwise hear a lot of music that is doesn’t fit in the traditional sonic world of punk or hardcore, even if it isn’t as varied at the band I most hear in this music.

I don’t love the production, it’s a little murky. And the singer’s voice is too far forward a lot of the time. I also think there could be more bottom though that could be my headphones.

I get why people really like this. I suspect there a whole whack of punk fans out there who feel like this is a fresh spin on the genre which sounds really unique. And I…sort of get that. I do feel like I can’t think of another punk band that exactly sounds like IDLES, so I can understand why they might stand out. But I just cannot shake the obvious (to me) influence of The Fall, it just sounds so strong to me even though I suspect the bands would not get along with each other (to put it mildly).

6/10

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