Growing up a beanstalk, the playful jaunts of ‘How are ya, muscles?’ or ‘Hello big fella!’ still manage to cause a jarring rush of frustration. Yes, it’s friendly and I’m sure these greetings are meant with nothing but good intentions, but it’s difficult to get past the very obvious ploy at asserting a strange authority over someone you’d ‘have’ in a physical confrontation.
You’re probably calling me a snowflake now, or a new age softy… Though, if you’ve found yourself feeling all puffy chested around your thinner mates and greeting them as such, perhaps you should have a little think about why you’re saying it—a simple “hello” is perfectly acceptable. If you’re finding it hard to differentiate—these greetings are usually accompanied by a bizarre display of dominance, like a hard pat on the back or a playful, yet not so playful, headlock.
Albeit a light contortion of manhood, it’s here that ‘be strong and don’t cry’ or casual beatings under the guise of parenting reside. It’s also here that Bristol punks Idles are shedding light and attaining global notoriety. Off the back of their critically acclaimed debut Brutalism, their 2018 sophomore Joy as an Act of Resistance furthers the global domination of a band with a prevailing message.
Led both on and off the stage by the charismatic Joe Talbot, the frontman has detailed a life of addiction, loss and intense bereavement. Mirroring the message of his band it seems he is an open book, as if to encourage conversations around trauma or emotional distress—a trait not often sort out by men. Hit single Samaritan is the creative embodiment of this message. Structurally, the line-by-line phrases are coupled and are stereotypical of lexicon within the patriarch. Within that realm, the statements are polarised, with one being an encouragement to its partner’s negative.
“Man up, Sit down – Chin up, Pipe down – Socks up, Don’t cry – Drink up, Just lie”
Though under Talbot’s scope all are damaging to the growing psyche of a young man. His vocal delivery is harsh and somewhat spoken. By no stretch of the imagination is it hard to picture a jaded father of South West England berating his own son in the same exacting manor—a truly haunting irony.
With a footing in experience, the band have lived what they express. It’s full frontal acceptance and honesty. Idles are to be considered not only in their art but as purveyors of change in a culture that perpetuates a dangerous silence.
Take a listen at what Idles have to offer.