British wonder punks IDLES have kept it in the English punk rock family by covering Gang of Four song ‘Damaged Goods’.
There’s some obvious cross over between IDLES and Gang of Four: a certain proclivity towards hard-edged and experimental instrumentation, an ability to conjure vivid political lyrics, and an affinity for abrasiveness in all facets of their work, from demeanour to musical style.
“IDLES does not exist without Gang Of Four,” the band said in a statement. “’Damaged Goods’ still sounds new and exciting after the millionth listen. We jumped at the chance to just to play it, let alone record it. It was an honour, a joy and a privilege.”
Lead singer Joe Talbot is famously averse to the “punk” moniker, but honestly, they’re not doing themselves any favours by covering a fellow legendary punk group. I get that labels are annoying and inherently meaningless to artists who get frustrated by being put into a box, but it’s my job to put bands into a box so that people understand what they’re getting into. Do me a favour: you listen to their cover of ‘Damaged Goods’ and tell me what genre title suits them better. Art rock? Indie? Agro pop? For now, I’m sticking with punk.
‘Damaged Goods’ originally appeared on Gang of Four’s legendary debut album Entertainment! That album came out at a time when punk rock, specifically English punk rock, was starting to grow beyond its three-chord limitations and started to embrace dub, reggae, funk, and even the dreaded classic rock. Gang of Four were at the forefront of expanding the musical horizons of what aggressive band could sound like, so when IDLES say that they were an influence on their sound, I completely believe it.
Check out the audio for IDLES cover of ‘Damaged Goods’ down below.