Idles (band)

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Idles - Haldern Pop Festival 2017 - Alexander Kellner - 8.jpg
Idles at Haldern Pop Festival 2017
Background information
OriginBristol, England
Years active2009 (2009)–present
LabelsFear of Fiction, Balley, Partisan
  • Joe Talbot
  • Adam Devonshire
  • Mark Bowen
  • Lee Kiernan
  • Jon Beavis
Past membersAndy S.

Idles, stylised as IDLES, are an English punk rock band formed in Bristol in 2009. Their debut album, Brutalism, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, as was their second album Joy as an Act of Resistance in 2018.


Idles have their roots in the Bat-Cave Night Club in Bristol, run by singer Joe Talbot and bassist Adam Devonshire, who met while at university in Exeter, eventually deciding to start a band.[1] According to Talbot, "It took us a long time to get productive because we didn't know what the fuck we were doing at all, we were fucking terrible for a long time." The band's first release was the Welcome EP in 2012. By 2014 the band comprised Talbot, Devonshire, guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan, and drummer Jon Beavis.[2] They released a second EP, Meat, and Meta, an EP of remixes, in 2015, and then started writing songs for their debut album.[1]

After the 2016 singles, "Well Done" and "Divide & Conquer", the band released their first album in March 2017, Brutalism, to critical acclaim.[1][3][4] DIY magazine, gave it 4 stars, calling it "An exhilarating escape along frenzied rhythms and powerhouse rhythms with a ferocious commentary for vital as it is volatile."[5] The Line of Best Fit website gave it 9/10, calling Idles "one of the most exciting British bands right now".[6] It got 8/10 from PopMatters, with Ian King calling it "bracing, caustic, and relentless".[7] Uncut gave it a similarly positive review, calling it "A rare rock record with the rage, urgency, wit and shattering of complacency usually found in grime."[8] Talbot's mother died after a long illness while the band was working on the album, and is pictured on the cover, along with a sculpture by Talbot and his father.[2] Her death gave Talbot and the band a new focus.[2] They toured to support Brutalism, and supported The Maccabees on the London shows of their farewell tour,[9] as well as supporting the Foo Fighters for the O2 Arena's 10th Birthday. After several festival appearances throughout Europe, they began working on their second album, Joy as an Act of Resistance, which was released on 31 August 2018.[2][10][11] Accompanying the release of Joy as an Act of Resistance, the group created an exhibition in collaboration with HM Electric Gallery in London, taking place 30 and 31 of August 2018.[12]

In 2019, the band were nominated for Best Breakthrough Act at the 2019 Brit Awards.[13]

Musical style[edit]

The band's music has been associated with punk rock[14][15] and related genres including post-punk,[16][17] hardcore punk,[18] and post-hardcore.[19] Singer Joe Talbot, however, rejects all of these labels. In 2017, he was quoted as saying: "We're not a post punk band. I guess we have that motorik, engine-like drive in the rhythm section that some post punk bands have but we have plenty of songs that aren't like that at all."[2] At a 2018 concert in Manchester, he said: "for the last time, we're not a fucking punk band".[20]