Beginning yesterday and ending today (30-31 August), Electric Gallery in Shoreditch plays host to Bristol punks IDLES and the artwork they feel best encapsulate the themes, ideas and ethos of their new album ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’ (Out today). The exhibition was curated by IDLES’ singer Joe Talbot and it features a whole host of artists known personally to the band. Standing in the sparse gallery, Talbot cuts a far more bashful figure than he does on stage where his performances are an intense display of lean energy.
The world ‘Colossus’ provides a tiny insight into the inner life of Talbot and his band. It is the name of an art installation which immediately draws the eye despite being perched in the corner as well as their new album’s opener. “It couldn’t exactly be hidden away” notes Talbot wryly. ‘Colossus’ concerns the pressures of modernity and adopts additional significance when Talbot reveals that the impressive work was constructed by his dad.
This familial dimension is central to the identity of IDLES as a band, perhaps even more so than the ‘political’ label that’s often applied to them. They are aiming to “bridge the gap between the trope of popular music and political thinking so that it becomes normal and not something daring or serious”.
Talbot adds that he wants “to make the album’s listeners immediately aware of the presence of life” , no mean feat in today’s age of instant gratification and social media obfuscation. “The central focus of our music is about being as visceral and honest as possible to use realism as a tool for progress”. Honesty and vulnerability crop up repeatedly throughout our brief conversation and it’s clear that the notion of vulnerability has a transformative impact upon Talbot’s life and his band’s music. “Vulnerability is strength which can lead to open-mindedness; bridging the gap between the self and the masses”.
No song off their new album encapsulates the band’s desire to build communities better than ‘Danny Nedelko’.The song is a compelling marriage of the personal and the political as the unashamedly multiculturalist anthem was inspired by Talbot’s close relationship with an actual Ukrainian man called Danny Nedelko, who will be supporting them on tour next month.
Once the exhibition packs up, IDLES are heading out on tour; they begin in early September and will play most days between now and December. Talbot’s goal over the next few months is to make the album “as fluent live as it is on record”. It won’t be an easy task but IDLES are quietly confident about their current trajectory.
IDLES – JOY AS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE EXHIBITION
30th + 31st Aug 2018 HM Electric Gallery, 65 Nile Street, London N1 7RD #JOYASANACTOFRESISTANCE.
Free Entry 12:00 – 20:00
Listen to IDLES brand new album below
Photos by Cerys Moller & Alex Mistlin