Taking the power of love on the road, IDLES bring their latest album, TANGK, to The Apollo in December 2024.
Idles have got to be among the most powerful voices in modern rock music. Passionate, political and darkly funny, their debut record Brutalism arrived in 2017, speaking to a fractured Britain with the kind of shattering rage and brutal honesty that refused be ignored. The power of that album, and the relentlessness of their touring schedule led to a signing with Partisan Records for their second album, Joy as an Act of Resistance – a full-throated indictment of sexism, racism, the polarisation of Britain in the wake of Brexit, nationalism and toxic masculinity. Here was a band you could pin all your hopes on, ideals you could rally round, a set of songs you could believe in.
Album number three, Ultra-Mono, doubled down on the vitriolic sneer and blunt social commentary of their past work, with lead single ‘Grounds’ a thunderous call-to-action, armed with a jack hammer and a smile. Number four, Crawler, explored more personal subject matter and a wider musical terrain – a darker, denser turn that felt necessary. It led to two GRAMMY Award nominations.
The band seem to be driving at something darker and denser still with their forthcoming fifth record, TANGK, which arrives in February. They launched the album with the dangerous and exhilarating single ‘Dancer’, which features backing vocals from LCD Soundsystem duo James Murphy and Nancy Whang. ‘Grace’ was next. A relatively slow-burner by IDLES’ standards, it takes the time to amplify the tension before detonating with a life-affirming crescendo. “No god, no king, I said love is the thing,” sings Joe Talbot, delivering IDLES’ new manifesto of love triumphing over nihilism with arguably his most soulful (yet still slightly menacing) vocal to date.
Just released, ‘Gift Horse’ dials up the darkness, its lean, taut intensity balanced by an undercurrent of gristly grooves and a stuttering, charismatic vocal delivery. Yet for all its sinewy menace, it’s sensitive too — a testament to redemption, to finding something or someone that makes the worries of the world feel not just tolerable but motivating. Collectively TANGK celebrates love, communion and all of those powerful emotions that make existence worthwhile and ‘Gift Horse’ is firmly in that lineage, declaring “All is love and love is all.”
As with the rest of the new album, these early singles were produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, The Smile, Beck), Kenny Beats (Denzel Curry, Vince Staples, Benee) and the band’s Mark Bowen – a creative line-up that makes it easy to believe a recent press release that claims TANGK will be the band’s most ambitious and striking record yet.