IDLES - 'Model Village' Review

Label: Partisan Records

Release Date: 11th August 2020

Rating: 8/10

Musically, it’s becoming clear that IDLES are having more fun experimenting with their unique sound.

Credit: Tom Ham

There are two kinds of IDLES songs. Some are more subtle -- laid back, yet hard as nails with lyrics that artfully explore modern society; the others are direct and brash, refusing to hide their message behind any metaphors. Both are excellent, one no less poetic or powerful than the other, and new track ‘Model Village’ shows the very best of the latter. 

The lyrics denounce all the worst attitudes associated with the small-town mindset. Rampant racism, “homophobes by the tonne” and toxic masculinity are the targets of IDLES’ rage this time around, with Joe Talbot’s sarcastic songwriting more cutting than ever.  A caption from the band’s Instagram account said “I hated growing up in a city that was really a town that was really a fishbowl. I left as soon as I could, only to realise the fishbowl didn't exist...just the fish, and they're everywhere.” ‘Model Village’ is a true anthem for anyone who has escaped a small town only to realise that intolerance is everywhere, and this is an impressive perspective from the band that will ring true for a lot of listeners.

Musically, it’s becoming clear that IDLES are having more fun experimenting with their unique sound. Guitars are laden with effects until they sound electronic like single ‘Grounds’ while classic rock ‘n’ roll influences are still evident. Joe Talbot’s vocals duet perfectly with the drum beat creating a powerful rhythm that delivers the message perfectly. Although some of this intoxicating rhythm is absent in the chorus, the emotion with which it is delivered makes up for a loss of energy.

‘Model Village’ has the potential to be the best song on Ultra Mono, the band’s third full length album which is set for release on 25 September, and it certainly stands out amongst the already impressive singles which have already been released. This is an exhilarating era for IDLES.

Words by Vicky Greer.

17th August 2020.

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