IDLES | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
IDLES performing during the Love Is The Fing Tour at the Moody Amphitheater Waterloo Park in Austin, Texas on May 21, 2024, with Adam Devonshire, Joe Talbot, Mark Bowen, Lee Kiernan, and Jon Beavis. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

In just 40 minutes, Joe Talbot mentions the word love 29 times, emphasizing gratitude as a vital force and viewing each morning as a blessing. He discusses freudenfreude, the joy in others' happiness, as a powerful counter to a world that tries to diminish and control joy. Talbot's passion for love and gratitude pervades the fifth album from IDLES, TANGK, even though he doesn’t explicitly say much during the record. Known for his intense post-punk energy, Talbot channels his emotions through soulful singing across these 10 songs, transforming personal vows and pleas for solidarity into accessible pop anthems meant for communal sharing and overcoming grievances.

TANGK, the most ambitious and striking album yet from IDLES, encapsulates the band’s evolution from confronting societal and personal issues to celebrating love, joy, and gratitude. The music thrives because of the challenges it addresses, urging listeners to care for themselves and each other. "Keep my people up/That’s my tool," Talbot declares in "POP POP POP," a call for collective upliftment. These songs are motivational notes, urging perseverance, love, and continued resilience.

IDLES' dynamic tension is fueled by Talbot's impulsive, hip-hop-influenced lyricism and Mark Bowen's meticulous exploration of music production, influenced by artists like Aphex Twin and Sunn O))). This contrast has propelled the band from the raw intensity of Brutalism to the nuanced complexity of Crawler in four years.

On TANGK, this contrast reaches its peak. Bowen collaborated extensively with Nigel Godrich, learning the intricacies of tape loops and using them to innovate new song ideas. Meanwhile, Talbot, although present and contributing, was preparing for his own performance, driven by the desire to deliver his message with the fervor of soul legends like Otis Redding and Lee Moses. The pandemic, personal losses, and newfound loves fueled Talbot's powerful convictions.

Talbot's approach, giving everything on stage to receive everything back from the audience, translates into the album's recordings. He channels his emotions with evangelical intensity, balancing vulnerability and strength, creating a radical sense of empowerment in these songs.

Tracks like "Gift Horse," "Roy," and "Grace" illustrate this transformation. "Gift Horse" celebrates redemption and motivation through love, "Roy" explores the power of infatuation, and "Grace" rejects generational nihilism in favor of unifying love. Despite the softer themes, IDLES maintain their musical and social edge on TANGK. "Hall And Oates" delivers hardcore energy, while "Jungle" confronts authority and self-worth issues with characteristic ferocity.

The band, Adam Devonshire, John Beavis, and Lee Kiernan, responds to these new directions with precision and power, supported by Godrich and Bowen’s production. TANGK is both expansive and focused, imaginative and immediate.

"Dancer," featuring LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Nancy Whang, is a throbbing, playful track about dancefloor ecstasy and the bond between IDLES and their fans. Talbot's mantra, "I give myself to you/As long as you move on the floor," encapsulates the band's commitment to uplifting and fighting for their listeners. TANGK is a love album for anyone needing a loud anthem to stave off the void, now or forever.
Fan reviews:

So happy to have been able to go! Love this bands energy and vibe.

Discovered this group four years ago and finally got to see them live! They're such great performers, and I've never seen a crowd with that much energy.

Idles have the absolute best performances with the most amazing positive energy. I’ve never been in such an energetic and kind crowd in my life. Feeling safe moshing as a five foot girl is so nice.

This will be the fourth time I've seen IDLES live. As always, they put on an amazing show, and it's fun to see the crowd growing!

So much energy! So much joy! IDLES always gives their 110% at each show. Thank you for an amazing night.
Setlist for the show at the Moody Amphitheater Waterloo Park
  • IDEA 01
  • Colossus
  • Gift Horse
  • Mr. Motivator
  • Mother
  • Car Crash
  • I'm Scum
  • 1049 Gotho
  • The Wheel
  • Jungle
  • When the Lights Come On
  • War
  • Wizz
  • Benzocaine
  • Gratitude
  • Divide and Conquer
  • Television
  • Crawl!
  • The Beachland Ballroom
  • Never Fight a Man With a Perm
  • Dancer
  • Danny Nedelko
  • All I Want for Christmas Is You
  • Never Fight a Man With a Perm
  • Well Done
  • Rottweiler

IDLES was the main act at the Moody Amphitheater Waterloo Park with guests Ganser. They continue across the United States, Europe, Australia, South America, and Asia with the last stop at the Zepp Diver City Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan on Janurary 27, 2025.

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Photos by Ralph Arvesen
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