“Mr. Motivator” begins with the screeching bend of guitar strings and an effervescent “Wooo!” from IDLES frontman Joe Talbot. Then, the pounding drums, the bass line. 10 seconds in, and we’re off to the races.
Bristol outfit IDLES has become one of loudest and most vivid voices in punk. Over the last three years, fans around the globe connected to the band’s unrelenting energy and candor. Their style is a kind of endearing anomaly — It sounds mean, but isn’t. Somehow, IDLES can be scathing, optimistic and red in the face, all at the same time.
The group’s latest single “Mr. Motivator” is no different. Talbot growls bizarre lyrical contortions (“like Kathleen Hanna with bear claws grabbing Trump by the pussy” is just one example), but always returns to such positive messages as “Let’s seize the day” and “You can do it!” It’s strange to hear encouraging words from a man who sounds like he’s eaten nails for breakfast, especially over such frenetic, angry music.
The song’s sentiment, vocal delivery and sonic irruption are forces to be reckoned with, “like Conor McGregor with a samurai sword on roller blades.” Paired with its fan-sourced exercise video, “Mr. Motivator” is a clear call to get in shape and prepare, mentally and physically, for IDLES’ forthcoming third album.
“We want to start this journey with a means to not only encapsulate the album’s sentiment, but to encourage our audience to dance like no one is watching and plough through these dark times with a two tonne machete of a song and the most beautiful community of scumbags ever assembled,” says Talbot.
In a December interview with Zan Lowe, the IDLES vocalist confirmed a new album was on the way with contributions from Kenny Beats, the producer known working with Rico Nasty, Denzel Curry and Vince Staples. Even Kenny, a hip-hop head and Berkley music grad, is an ardent fan of the UK punks.
As to what that collaboration means for IDLES’ new record, only time will tell. For now we have an ass-kicking workout anthem to chew on while we wait.