OTwo Reviews: Ultra Mono

Image Credit: Nurina Iman Nizam

Album: IDLESArtist: Ultra Mono

Bristol band IDLES released their third album Ultra Mono on 25 September 2020. They have been known to combine their electrifying rock with blunt, leftist political messages. The opener War is a punch in the face, with its compressed sound that is noisy and gnarly setting the benchmark for what is to come: high energy rock that is hard to put into a genre box. It is not necessarily post-punk like many critics branded it, but better fits under the banner alternative/indie rock. 

The album’s sound remains the same throughout and the songs can appear repetitive, maybe too much so. It does sound like one 45-minute-long song, which can have a certain appeal, but may become bland after a couple of listens. Still, there are a couple of bangers on this political album. ‘Model Village’ makes fun of small-minded England (“Snitches snitchin’ on snitches”) as it rejects homophobia, senseless nationalism and everyday racism. ‘Mr. Motivator’ has enough energy to accompany people on their running or biking trips. ‘Ne Touche Pas Moi’ is denouncing catcallers and a call to women-friendly gigs, ending in consecutive shouting of ‘Consent!’. One of the best songs is the slow ‘A Hymn’, serving as a welcome counterpart from the otherwise loud songs on the album.

There were high expectations for Ultra Mono after its predecessor Joy as an Act of Resistance was received positively. The highly awaited Ultra Mono may not fulfil everybody’s expectations, but hopefully the record will come to life when performed live.