IDLES - 'Ultra Mono'

8/10

Since first emerging with their breakthrough debut album 'Brutalism' in 2017, Bristol's IDLES have been heralded as the future of British punk music. With its raw and distinctive aesthetic, the venom and frenzy they showcased on that initial offering was enough for them to retire on. But they followed it up in the very next year with 'Joy As An Act Of Resistance', a record that saw them go from cult favourites to topping numerous Albums Of The Year lists as well as gaining their first Mercury Prize nomination. Now after a couple of years to figure out their next move, they return with 'Ultra Mono', a release that somehow sees them become louder than ever.

While their first two albums were a heady blend of tenacious and raucous attitudes split apart with more profound and heartfelt moments, 'Ultra Mono' instead pursues their more energetic side from start to finish, leaving very little room for subtlety or covert political opinions. Instead IDLES share everything they have on their sleeves and leave nothing to the imagination on what is probably their most anthemic collection to date. Just when you think they are going to give you a rest, that's when things really start to kick up a gear and deliver even bigger riffs and cacophonous drums.

It may not have that same vulnerability and personal touch that made 'Joy...' such a hit with fans and critics, but it shows that IDLES are far from low on ideas about where to go next and gives us one of the most explosive albums we have heard all year. A strong continuation for them that shows everyone that the anger and tenacity of their sound is far from wearing thin.

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