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The UK's answer to the new wave of American sludge-punk has arrived.  Their name are IDLES, and as you might expect, they sport a hard-hitting, generally unpleasant sound, but it's a distinctive one at that. Although they could technically fall under the same umbrella as their US counterparts (namely Pissed Jeans, METZ, or perhaps even Whores), IDLES brings a more focused left-wing worldview to the mix (i.e. on "Mother" where they mock Tories and misogyny in general).  Lead singer Joseph Talbot delivers his lines with a raspy and hostile authority on most of these tunes, which gives practically every song an edgy, and at times somewhat deranged quality.  The band has a pretty heavy and blunt rhythm section, as the bass and drums seem to the focal point of most tracks.  The guitar-work isn't particularly heavy on riffs, but rather on providing waves of powerful and dense blasts of noise, which generally accentuates the somewhat gloomy and dark mood that seems to encompass most of the album.

And that's the main thing that makes IDLES stand out to a degree: the urgently dense and hostile gloom of the album.  While this sound is fairly distinctive, it also kind of drags the album down as a whole. Basically, IDLES rarely offer you the same type of "fun" adrenaline-fueled fury that a typical METZ or Whores album would give you. Aside from the standout track "Well Done" (which not coincidentally happens to be quite amusing) the general vibe of Brutalism is distinctly anti-fun, with it's darkly-shaded blunt tone.  While there is a fair amount of dark comedy to be found here (i.e. "Date Night") Joseph Talbot's delivery keeps things decidedly bleak for the most part, which in turn keeps the mood somewhat drab in spite of his urgency.

Overall though, Brutalism is nonetheless a quality debut from a band that seems to have a lot of potential, along with a general tone and message that should be embraced considering the dystopian state of affairs we find ourselves in this Trumponian/Brexit nightmare that is 2017.


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