With latest single A Hymn, Bristol post-punkers IDLES continue to drum up excitement for their upcoming third album Ultra Mono (set for release September 25 on Partisan Records).
Their previous effort Grounds (reviewed here) was a rallying cry for solidarity. Its video was spare, most of it a first-person drive through British suburbia. The video here is similarly spartan, following the band members as they drive with their parents through greying English suburbs.
This is the centrepiece of the album and one can see why. It’s epic in construction, opening with a swelling guitar dirge and ringing notes that’s more post-rock than post-punk. The band describes the track as a “hymn that rejoices in the sinister flesh-eating virus of the pedestrian” and the lyrics echo that sentiment. Frontman Joe Talbot rattles off a series of life events (“Hot Zumba classes at the new church/ I lost 10 pounds for the wedding/ I played happy till my teeth hurt”) with such numbed detachment that it hurts. The video plays this out in its closing moments, as our heroes all exit their cars to step into a grocery store.
It’s an interesting mood piece for IDLES, but doesn’t sit among their best. There’s not as much energy or build as it promises in its initial half, and the denouncement of mundanity is a bit heavy-handed given the times we’re living in. The video itself seems at odds with the music, too. Seeing the band members with their parents going for a shop is more charming than depressing. Nevertheless, the track shows variety and the quieter, more introspective side of this usually raucous five-piece. Given the teaser singles, Ultra Mono promises to be IDLES’ most diverse album by a mile.