The Idol Dead – ‘Tension & Release’ (Raaa! Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Thursday, 24 August 2017 04:30

The Idol Dead artworkLeeds-based punk n’ rollers The Idol Dead have been around a good few years now - nine to be exact - and ‘Tension & Release’ is, remarkably, their fourth long player.


The Idol Dead are underdogs, they are DIY, and they are also a band who understand the values of PledgeMusic, how to use it to their advantage and give their fans value for money. A minimum pledge for ‘Tension & Release’ gave access to a live album, a plethora of bonus songs and content. Hell, you could even pledge to sing backing vocals on the album if you so desired!


This is not the first time The Idol Dead have released an album through PledgeMusic - and, judging on the success, I imagine it will not be the last. They hit well over 200 per cent on this campaign and for a relatively unknown band...that’s pretty good, right? There’s a reason for this and that is The Idol Dead have a small but hardcore fanbase who believe in the band’s ability to deliver and that is all any band can wish for.


So, the question is... have The Idol Dead lived up to their fans beliefs and produced an album as good as, if not better than ,expected? Well, ‘Tension & Release’ is certainly not an immediate album, not as hook-laden as its predecessor ‘Hollow Point Curses’ but it happens to be a mighty fine album just the same.


‘Tension & Release’ covers darker themes; it’s an album about conquering the problems that life throws in your path, about finding a reason to get out of bed every morning, something a lot of us can relate to. The world is fucked, our politicians are a joke, all our heroes are dying and we can watch it all fall apart on social media with a cup of tea. We have all suffered loss in one way or another and sometimes, for me (and I’m guessing you, if you’re reading this), it is only music that can pull you through in this crazy world.


But there is hope, and ‘Tension & Release’ hits that home in the first two opening songs. The sonically seductive ‘Happy Now’ builds the drama nicely with razor sharp, regimental riffage from KC and Tim as singer Polly Phluid delivers quality vocals. ‘Black Dog Down’ is a middle finger up to depression and all it entails and one of the few instant songs on offer. Ridiculously hook-laden and upbeat, it proves that when the black dog gets ya, love can save the day, and with a stadium sized guitar solo that James Dean Bradfield would be proud of, you could be forgiven for thinking the band had shot their load prematurely with such a strong double-barrelled opening.


But, I’m glad to say it ain’t so, sure, It takes a few listens for most of the hooks to reveal themselves, but reveal themselves they do. ‘Hearts On Sleeve’ sounds like late 90’s agit-rockers Compulsion, good build up, killer chorus and goosebumps on third listen, there’s even a Wildhearts-like riffing section thrown in for good measure... job done boys!


The riff monster 1-2 of ‘Let’s Go’ and ‘Clear Lines’ hark back to the glory days of Brit Rock, days when you could catch your favourite band on TOTP seemingly every week, its Terrorvision meets 3 Colours Red, now that’s a good place to be, right?


‘Samsara’ has a distinct modern Green Day fell to it, due in part to the lead vocals of drummer Nish coming on like Billie Joe Armstrong and it’s a nice contrast to the rest of the album, as is epic closer ‘Sympathy Bullet’, a song that lulls the listener into a false sense of security with its acoustic beginnings before going off on a musical tangent.


With quality songwriting, rousing chorus after chorus, made even more impressive with some great full backing vocals and a top notch production, The Idol Dead have excelled themselves in every way and produced an album they can be proud of, an album their fans will adore and an album that will be vying for a high placing in my albums of the year list.


Support homegrown talent and get the glorious sounds of ‘Tension & Release’ in your ears pronto.


‘Tension & Release’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.


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