IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance

“The masses against the classes / I'm tired of giving a reason / When we're the only thing left to believe in”

Manic Street Preachers, Masses Against The Classes, UK No.1 19/01/00

Where has rock n roll gone? There are no more outsiders. On and on the pathetic and lazy journalism about bands goes of late. That said, it has felt an age since an intelligent, rebellious working class band have infiltrated the very people saying they don't exist.

Bristol's IDLES look set to do just this. Front man Joe Talbot recently appeared on ITV's News at 10 talking about his mental health and his charity work for the Samaritans. Cue the arsehole generation shouting “snowflake” at their televisions. Lush indie melodies and synths with East London fashion parades IDLES are not.

They are violent, acerbically witty and pure. In 'Danny Nedelko' and 'Great' they have found a Martin Amis ability to surmise the times. The Brexit inspired songs stick two fingers up to those tearing down the notion of togetherness. On 'Scum', they find the venomous humour of John Niven to portray a guttural upbringing. How refreshing to hear it in this light, instead of Melanie Phillips bemoaning the poor buying a pack of fags.

Both songs, at crucial moments, find some magic melodies to cut through the ferocious punk and soul.

There is however, more to this album than just great punk rock and viscous motorik. Songwriter Joe Talbot, tragically lost his daughter during childbirth last year. It has caused him to examine himself and masculinity at length. 'Samaritans' dissects Britain's constant male suppression and, with the line “this is why you never see your father cry”, combines the sloganeering of Strummer and the intellect of Bobby Gillespie and Luke Haines. For those raised by children of WW2 survivors, that solemn, say nothing approach to feelings will appear all too familiar. It's time for change.

If this subject matter wasn't enough to wrestle with, Talbot tackles his grief on 'June'. Find the language to depict Talbot's loss is futile. This is, unquestionably one of the most shattering songs you will ever hear. The bravery on display, from everyone in the band to convey the worst imaginable loss, is heroic. Music's power, so often is about creating communities for individuals to belong to, that is, in essence the human condition. With 'June', we only hope fellow sufferers can find solace here and rebuild their lives.

This album is a moment. A bona fide flag in the ground. The working classes as a force for good, as heroes on our TV screens and airwaves is back.

“Hello it's us again”

Manic Street Preachers, Masses Against The Classes, UK No.1 19/01/00