“This music thrives not in spite of our problems but because of them”

This new Idles entry is a darker sound with a brighter concept. TANGK strips back the instrumentation for the majority of the record, whilst still capturing that pent-up aggression that they have identified with; turning the sound of minority into a greater impact. The Bristol based outfit have always taken on the responsibilities of criticising the wider topics such as politics, oppressive patriarchy and male stereotypes, but TANGK is about working on the inside to change the out.

The definition of a Gift Horse is “a gift (usually of inferior quality) that should be accepted uncritically”. The track of that name captures that rebellious spirit in which we identify with Idles; both with instrumentation and lyrical conceptions. This song often combines beauty with ugliness - lyrics such as “Sinew exploding from chrome hooves” combined with the end of every verse line with an almost uncomfortable upstroke of a distorted guitar. This song is about embracing whatever gives you comfort, regardless of its impression or reputation to others. The line “F*** the king, he ain't the king she’s the king” is the best example of that, whilst flirting with more familiar Idles lyrical territory. Freedom of expression is also the theme within the main single Dancer. A song about stripping back the experience of clubbing to its most innocent presentation. Being “hip to hip” and “cheek to cheek” gives the imagery of the Idles boys being right in the heart of a dark nightclub. This track will perhaps be the closest interpretation we will ever hear to Abba becoming a punk band.

What stands out the most on this record is the most stripped back moments within it. Fourth track Roy see’s frontman Joe Talbot at his most vulnerable. The song makes examples of how stripped down he is to reach the crescendo line of “I’m a smart man but I’m dumb for you” which summarises the whole song. The next track A Gospel has no hidden agenda; in fact, it’s as blatant as we’ve ever seen Idles. A break up song with so much reflection that it feels personal. The line “I wore your sweater you didn’t laugh, I guess your girl was right, we weren’t meant to last” is the darkest delivery on the album, and perhaps ever within Idles discography. There is a moment on the album that old-school Idles fans will love. The track Hall & Oates presents the positive side of a love song from the female perspective, a fast paced crunching two minute punk song. It breeds positivity and aggression.

TANGK is a fitting Fifth entry; because it shows that the band can explore all avenues whilst maintaining their original energy. Even the slower moments on this record present so much aggression and grit that they are welcome additions to the Idles discography. And it’s that level of craft and skill both as musicians and songwriters that will allow most to foresee Idles longevity to be for the foreseeable future. To take any concept, tempo and instrumentation and turn it into something that identifies still as themselves is what makes this punk band, and this record unique.