Review: Idles – Five Years Of Brutalism











Five Years Of Brutalism (Digital Edition) – Partisan

(Under no circumstances to be called a punk band) Idles’ debut album ‘Brutalism’ turned five this year (2022, in case you’re reading this in, erm, the future. And if so, hope it’s all good!). So how does it age compared to the following: The average five-year-old Facebook pic of a night out? Excellently! No embarrassing drunken shots here. The average five-year-old car? Excellently! No new tyres or minor mechanical work needed here. You get the picture. We could go on for comedy value, but that would be no good – because Idles are serious. They were serious back when ‘Brutalism’ was released, and much like the state of affairs in the world right now, they are still bloody serious. Their debut could be released today. And musically that’s great – because this record still sounds fresh as f**k. But it’s the vocal violence of Joe Talbot. It’s the way he spits his lyrics. He could be singing about the role of women in his life (which he mainly is on ‘Brutalism’) or he could be putting his order in at the chippy. It’s the viciousness, the rawness, the sounds which come out of that man, which capture the mood of most of us. Five years ago and right now.

So how about the extra material that turns this into ‘Five Years Of Brutalism’? It’s a live recording of Idles’ set at Glastonbury 2022, when they played a surprise performance of ‘Brutalism’ live and in full. And what a surprise it would have been for any unsuspecting so-called “influencer”, who got into Glasto to enhance their image as opposed to their ears, to see these boys crash land and tear it up.

So, full disclosure, having just enjoyed re-engaging with ‘Brutalism’, Devo wondered as to the point of listening to the whole thing again with audience noise. Welp, there is a massive point. Talbot sounds even better, even more menacing and even more disenchanted live. He snarls his way through the set, shadowed by backing vocals howling away, and with audience participation at an all time high during ‘Mother’.

In this format – with the original album followed by a full festival set, ‘Brutalism’ should be re-released every five years.

Idles – Facebook

Review by Jo Wright