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On the radar: IDLES

Bristol’s IDLES are a potent hash of outrage, bleak humour and avant-garde noise making.

I have a ’72 Strat that is an old war horse. I can’t tune the A-string without pliers

Given the lyric ‘the best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich’ on Mother, it’s clear that there’s a political ire at the heart of IDLES - and guitarist Mark Bowen’s abrasive tone offers the perfect canvas for such mantras.

Sound and expression

“I have a ’72 Strat that is an old war horse,” he tells us. “It’s awful but I love it. None of the knobs work and I can’t tune the A-string without pliers - they always tell me to tune up and I have to mime it.”

Unsurprisingly, the band’s debut album, Brutalism, demands your attention.

“I’m interested in the way the sound is expressed,” concludes guitarist Mark Bowen. “And that expressiveness is a bit like those therapies where people dress as animals and defecate on floors.”

  • For fans of: Slaves, Fat White Family
  • Hear: Divide And Conquer

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

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