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Idles’ Pulverizing Gut-Check ‘Grounds’ Is a Song You Need to Know

With pile-driving guitar riffs and drill-sergeant vocals decrying racism, the Ultra Mono track is a sign of the times

It’s difficult to decide whether Idles frontman Joe Talbot’s angry vituperation or the band’s slamming, vertigo-inducing guitar riffs sound heavier on “Grounds,” the latest song the Bristol, U.K. group has released from its upcoming Ultra Mono album. For a band that titled its first album Brutalism, Idles sound more bellicose, more foreboding, more intimidating — and altogether more brutal — on “Grounds.”

Part of the reason they’re able to pull it off (and the secret to the song’s heaviness) is the space they put between their drill-bit guitar lines. They fill the space between their six-string earthquakes with sparkling New Wave synth lines, fluttering ambience, and of course Talbot’s gut-check declarations of might.

“Do you hear that thunder?” he asks before the chorus. “That’s the sound of strength in numbers: I am I, unify!” He backs it all up with perfectly self-righteous screeds about street smarts and standing up for what you believe in. “There’s nothing brave and nothing useful,” he says at one point. “You scrawling your aggro shit on the walls of the cubicle saying my race and class ain’t suitable, so I raise my pink fist and say, ‘Black is beautiful.’” He sounds like a guy driving a bulldozer over nonbelievers — the video shows him driving to a park where he clobbers a lesser version of himself — and even though it was likely recorded months ago, it perfectly captures the anger of the moment in the world right now.

Since this is just a taste of Ultra Mono, which comes out September 25th, it’s safe to guess the rest of the record, which the group has said contains songs tackling inclusivity, class, gender inequality, nationalism, and toxic masculinity, will be equally devastating.

Find a play list of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.