IDLES: Ultra Mono is an Explosive, Political Must-Listen

IDLES continue to show great political rock still exists with their third album Ultra Mono.

IDLES pick up where they left off from their wonderful 2018 album, Joy as an Act of Resistance

The first song, ‘War’, throws you immediately into the deep end with violent energy. This is the perfect introduction to an album that continues to be an incredible assault on your senses.

The instrumentals take centre stage quite often during the album. Starting with the aforementioned ‘War’ in which the instrumental breaks between each line of the first verse take focus. And then after the chorus the song peaks with a crazy cacophonous instrumental break that makes the track so great.

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Ultra Mono is, in true IDLES fashion, intensely political throughout the whole album. They angrily attack everything they view as wrong with modern Britain in almost every song. For example, on ‘Carcinogenic’, which is one of the best songs on the album, they challenge income inequality and the government’s reaction to it.

“Over-working, working nurses and teachers /

Whilst you preach austerity is… /



Joe Talbot, the lead singer, has shown his feminism has been clear since the band released their debut album, Brutalism.

Especially in their single from the album, ‘Mother’. This touches on sexual violence but on Ultra Mono they have a much more detailed confrontation of sexual violence on ‘Ne Touche Pas Moi’.

‘Ne Touche Pas Moi’ is supposed to translate to “don’t touch me”. However, as Jehnny Beth of the Savages told Joe Talbot it is not actually how you say “don’t touch me” in French. But they decided to keep it in because it is “more honest”. In ‘Ne Touche Pas Moi’ they threaten catcallers and creeps in clubs.

“This is a sawn-off /

For the cat-callers /

This is a pistol /

For the wolf whistle”


Though some of their critics accuse IDLES of being too ‘woke’ and watered-down punk. They are clearly prepared to fight for the causes that they think are worth fighting for. And it is refreshing to see that victims of sexual violence are actually being treated how they deserve: worth fighting for, whilst sexual abusers are worth fighting against, and eradicating.

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However, the album isn’t solely political. On the song ‘Anxiety’ Joe Talbot, sings about a breakup and the resulting anxiety. Despite this being a relatively specific thing, this message is both personal and, in some way, relatable to so many people. Once again, later in the album on ‘A Hymn’, Joe Talbot captures the relatable feeling of wanting to be loved – which he acknowledges in the lyrics themselves.

“I want to be loved

Everybody does”


The only shame is that IDLES won’t be able to tour for the album immediately. However, they do have plans to tour the album in 2021. There are still some available tickets for certain shows. I have had the pleasure of seeing IDLES before and it is most definitely worth buying a ticket if you can.

Listen to Ultra Mono now, on all good streaming platforms

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