Album of the Week: Idles, Ultra Mono

The Idles have gone and done it — Ultra Mono is a record for the times, filled with rage, fury, fight, and compassion.

From opener “War” that kicks things off with a pure adrenaline rush:

This means war!
Anti-war!
WAR!
….

Send Sally into open fire
Send Johnny to the sandbox, baby
We’re gunning for the stone-faced liars

And things get ratcheted up from there, with the band blasting out song after song with more spitting, barking ferocity than 2018’s Joy as an Act of Resistance. The lyrics are blunt (in all of that word’s definitions), the music direct, and the energy infectious.

Here’s lead singer Joe Talbot from an interview with DIY, answering some of the criticism leveled at the band largely because of their new-found success:

We’re surrounded by Brexit; we’re fighting slogans with slogans. We’re trying to unify and you can’t do that by being convoluted and murky. This isn’t an essay in the Quietus, this is CBeebies for humanists.

I have to say, I really wonder what’s up with some music critics who react to an album as if it’s responsible for kicking their dog….

A number of special guests join the core band of Joe Talbot (lead vocals), Adam Devonshire (bass guitar, backing vocals), Mark Bowen (lead guitar), Jon Beavis (drums), and Lee Kiernan (rhythm guitar) including Jehnny Beth of Savages and solo fame, Warren Ellis from Dirty Three, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Grinderman, and David Yow of Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard. Woof!

Ultra Mono was released today on Partisan Records and is available from the Idles website in a number of special editions and Bandcamp.