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Album Review: IDLES - 'TANGK'

It seems like IDLES have been trying to shake off the post-punk label for a long time and TANGK is their least punky album to date. While there is much more variety in these tracks, The album still retains the overarching positivity that has always made the band stand out.

Floating piano morphing into a distorted guitar sound and a gentle vocal ease you in on opener "Idea 1". It’s followed by "Gift Horse", more of a standard rocker with a bit of a Hard-Fi vibe to it with really strong drums and rhythm section in general. "POP POP POP" retains the strength of the drums but is a complete change of pace as well as being a bit of an earworm.

"Roy" and "Dancer" are the two standout tracks for me. The latter is a strident crowd-pleaser and the former, a bit of a surprise, feels like a futuristic country song. In between these two, A Gospel is a classic ode to a love that didn’t work out. The piano elevates it with an old-school music hall vibe.

"Hall & Oates" is the most traditionally “punky” track on the album and it almost feels out of place against the others. The final two tracks, "Gratitude" and "Monolith" are slower and despite the heavy drums, "Gratitude" is almost ponderous in places but the lyrics are typical of IDLES, mixing the positive with the aggressive.  Final track "Monolith" feels like something akin to a musical hug after the sonic journey of the rest of the album. It’s there to level you out after the changing pace of the previous tracks.

While TANGK definitely shows how IDLES have evolved over the last 5 years it still has a sound that is uniquely theirs. It’s an eclectic album that doesn't feel completely coherent to me, but that has never been what IDLES really do. It swings between different styles giving every member of the band (and the other contributors) a chance to shine in their own way. I’d have liked a few harder tracks but I still found plenty to enjoy here and I am excited to hear some of these played live.

TANGK is released on 16 February

Standout tracks: "Roy", "Dancer"

Rating - 3/5

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