Idles have released a seventh single, and accompanying video, from their UK number 1 album Ultra Mono. On initial viewing, the promo for Reigns looks wholesome and pure, with smiling, loved-up ABC1 couples, playful metrosexual bros and giggling, mutually-supportive BFFs chilling in front of their respective ‘goggleboxes’, their relaxed, easy body language a stark contrast to the mounting anger in Idles’ vocalist Joe Talbot’s delivery of the seething anti-monarchy lyric: “How does it feel to have blue blood coursing through your veins?”
This tension is unsustainable, and, perhaps inevitably, matters on screen swiftly take a startling and feral turn for the worst, to the unbridled joy of certain parties. As an artistic and social statement, it’s every bit as unsettling as it is memorable, a metaphor for turbulent times of upheaval whose impact is felt differently across different strata of society.
“In England and Britain, there's a real cancerous history of class division,” Talbot told NPR last year when discussing Reigns. “The poor are dying at the hands of the 1%, and they're being ignored. And the fact that there's a royal family in our country that exists in a time where people are making charities in order to feed the poor in a developed country is insane. The idea of a royal family is, in my eyes, insane that they still exist.”
Pandemic permitting, Idles will tour the UK and Ireland in May/June/July, with support coming from Jehnny Beth, Anna Calvi, Cate le Bon, Sinead O Brien, Big Joanie, Witch Fever, Shopping and wych elm.