In Review: IDLES - 'Grounds'

The Bristol band add another in-your-face anthem to their impressive arsenal.
Posted: 22 June 2020 Words: Ellis Maddison

A month after releasing the gut-wrenchingly inspiring ‘Mr. Motivator’, the adorned post-punk five-piece have christened the arrival of their long-awaited third LP Ultra Mono with a thunderous new single. 

‘Grounds’ encapsulates each essential element to an IDLES tune that has seen the band ascend to cult status in no time at all. An industrial, quick-fire combination of toms and snare is another masterful Jon Beavis drumbeat, complemented by Dev’s immensely distorted bassline in typical IDLES-like fashion. Yet again, Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan fight over the catchier guitar lick, with the former just edging it this time with his futuristic, wailing riff that makes the song instantly distinguishable. Where some lyrics in ‘Grounds’ are more codified and open to listener interpretation, it’s evident that Talbot shows no intention of taking the foot off the socio-political pedal, both taking aim at the nation’s flawed educational system – “I smell the blood of a million sons / Not taught by our teachers / On our curriculum” – and mobilising against the abhorrence of racism: “I raise my pink fist and say black is beautiful.” 

Where the individual instruments alone have a rather dark and sinister element to them, each component aptly marries together to make ‘Grounds’ an incandescently unifying and empowered track that’ll make you feel like you’re part of a growing movement for humanitarian progress. Whether you’re an avid fan or an occasional listener, IDLES undeniably have a demonstrative and beautifully aggressive sound that’s unique from any other group out there at the moment; with ‘Grounds’, the band have added yet another rebellious, in-your-face anthem to their impressive collection. 

Ultra Mono is released 25th September 2020 on Partisan Records. 

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