This is one of those albums that sound like its cover.
Joy as an Act of Resistance is one of the most energetic, wild, and insane albums of the last decade so there was no doubt in my mind that this was gonna be great: the question was... how great? Well the answer is maybe possibly is kinda better than Joy as an Act of Resistance? It's hard to tell at this point however what I can say is this: Ultra Mono is certainly on par with it.
This record takes everything amazing about Joy and makes that album again, this time harsher and heavier so that it doesn't get stale. This album feels like I'm being slapped in the fucking face with a ball, just as the cover implies. This record holds some of the hardest hitting and mind-meltingly energetic songs I've heard in a good while. The guitars across this record are super heavy, booming, and enragingly loud. Pair that with the insanely high energy and loud vocals from Joe and you have the recipe for a near-masterpiece. The songwriting here is a huge step-up from Joy which I didn't think was an album with supreme lyrics. In comparison, this record seems much more politically and socially conscious, commenting on a lot of modern-day problems which are actual reasons for Joe to get riled up about, such as self-conflict and the corrupt system.
Grounds features some super forward-thinking production with its roaring guitars and what I believe are sirens beeping which somehow creates an unexplainably head bopping jam. Then there's Mr. Motivator which just makes me want to grab a guitar and slam it against the floor. I love the proclamations of blue blood going through your veins paired alongside this mean-ass riff on Reigns. There's also a fucking intense and wild screaming saxaphone at the end of the track which sounds straight out of the Olatunji Concert. Then there's A Hymn which is sort of the Gram Rock of the album. It's a cooldown from the insanity that the rest of the album is however the difference between this and Gram Rock is it doesn't suck. It has an ambient intro, followed by a soothing riff while Joe is laying down some legitimately beautiful notes. This track shows that IDLES can be more than just a super loud and energetic band when they want to. Kill Them With Kindness is one of the weirdest moments on the album yet also one of the most epic. It builds itself up with this cute little piano and then rips your ears apart with some super heavy guitars. It's truly an experience to behold. In fact, this entire album was something to behold. A lot of what I love about this record reminds me of what I loved about Death Grips when I first discovered them. The harsh recording, the insane energy, the dark and angry lyrics; needless to say, this is gonna go down as one of the best albums of the year.
FAV TRACKS: War, Grounds, Mr. Motivator, Anxiety, Kill Them With Kindness, Model Village, Ne Touche Pas Moi, Carcinogenic, Reigns, A Hymn, Danke
LEAST FAV TRACKS: The Lover