In the struggle to get people heard almost everything in the music world comes in homogenised packages: time and again artists are promoted on a “Sounds like” basis, as if creativity and diversity are now dirty words in our short-handed lexicon.
For example, say the word Bristol and you immediately think of Trip Hop, or the awkward gap year folk scene it’s supported in the past. And yet whilst any regionality is ironed out of us by progress, Idles are so proudly non-metropolitan it gives hope to others, their anger, compassion and lack of hip the sort of emotions we’re deliberately numbed to by the ugly confrontation-for-clicks world.
Together in one form or another for years, a listen back through the five piece’s catalogue reveals a band becoming more polemicized as time goes on. That process helps Brutalism zero in acerbically on the many cultural bastions of stupid which pock mark society, from the avaricious homemakers owned by their possessions of opener Heel/Heel to the celebrated ignorance of the man who drunkenly punches himself “To prove he wasn’t gay” on Exeter.
Fittingly, this pith is backed with a torrent of punk shaped noise, tunes bent and broken that give Brutalism an energy and purpose which burns any ideas of neutrality; you’re either a willing part of this joyful mess or an eyeless slave to conformity. Confrontational? Yes. But also, it’s great fun, played in bursts of unselfconscious mischief that want to love and be loved in return. If we’re all to have a future together, Idles will need to be part of it.