Idles – Ultra Mono (2020) [FLAC 24bit/48kHz]

Idles – Ultra Mono (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 42:45 minutes | 555 MB | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Partisan Records

Following Brutalism (2017) and Joy as an Act of Resistance (2018), two releases that garnered global critical acclaim, IDLES return with their highly anticipated third album – Ultra Mono. Sonically constructed to capture the feeling of a hip-hop record (including production contribution from Kenny Beats), the album doubles down on the vitriolic sneer and blunt social commentary of their past work. Not far beneath the surface of their self-admitted sloganeering lies a deeply complex and brutally relevant album that chews up clichés and spits them out as high art for the masses. This is momentary acceptance of the self. This is Ultra Mono.

After toiling in obscurity for nearly a decade, the Bristol, England, band Idles broke through in 2017—earning accolades for their big, heavy, ferocious sound (singer Joe Talbot has vehemently, repeatedly rejected the easy “punk” label) and lyrics railing against toxic masculinity, white privilege and over-reaching government. In 2020, with their third album, IDLES is not saying anything many people aren’t already feeling, but there’s something undeniably cathartic about saying it with such fury: Sometimes it’s just enough to yell out “This means war! Anti-war!” while klaxon guitars wail on the song “War,” or “Consent! Consent! Consent! Consent!” on “Ne Touche Pas Moi” (“don’t touch me”). Tapping into the Western world’s emotional disorder of the moment, “Anxiety” spits: “Our government hates the poor/ Cold leaders’ cold class war/ Given drugs you can’t afford/ So the poor can’t buy the cure.” That reliable old chestnut of a punching bag, the British royal family, makes plenty of appearances, including on the sonar-warp “Reigns.” “I’m guessing it is hard for you to see, that that that that empathy will kick down your throne,” Talbot heckles the Windsors on “Kill Them With Kindness,” which opens with a pretty jewel-box tune before sliding sideways into appealingly funky, Jesus Lizard-esque guitar and a strutting beat. And here’s the thing: While Talbot gets all the front-man attention, it’s the musicians who really shock and awe. Guitarists Lee Kiernan and Mark Bowen create a dialogue of needling Wire-esque riffs on the irresistible “Model Village” (“Model low crime rate in the village/ Model race, model hate, model village,” Talbot rails against mindless patriotism). Drummer Jon Beavis and bassist Adam Devonshire tattoo relentless, and relentlessly catchy, rhythm on tracks like “Anxiety” and “Grounds” (“Not a single thing has ever been mended/ by you standing there and saying you’re offended,” Talbot jeers on that one, taking a swipe at the trend of virtue-signaling). “Mr. Motivator” rides a wave of racing guitar and gun-shot drums to underscore Talbot’s battle cry: “Let’s seize the day/ all hold hands/ chase the pricks away.” Absurdly coupling toxic masculinity and feminist power, Talbot chants,”Like Conor McGregor with a samurai sword on rollerblades/ Like Vasyl Lomachenko after four pints of Gatorade/ Like Kathleen Hanna with bear claws grabbing Trump by the pussy … Like Frida Kahlo painting ‘arm the poor’ on your fuck-off wall.” Then he follows it all up with a wink: “How do you like them clichés?” And when things take a wild left turn with “A Hymn”—haunted by spooky, hazy guitars and droning lyrics—it’s like everything goes out of focus for a minute. The change in perspective is not just a breather, it’s a peek into what more these hard-chargers can offer. – Shelly Ridenour


1. Idles – War
2. Idles – Grounds
3. Idles – Mr. Motivator
4. Idles – Anxiety
5. Idles – Kill Them With Kindness (feat. Jamie Cullum & David Yow)
6. Idles – Model Village
7. Idles – Ne Touche Pas Moi (feat. Jehnny Beth)
8. Idles – Carcinogenic
9. Idles – Reigns
10. Idles – The Lover
11. Idles – A Hymn
12. Idles – Danke