The Idoru- Undertow (Album Review)

May 7, 2024


Share This Review


Connect with The Idoru


Listen to The Idoru

When it comes to music from Hungary my knowledge is mostly limited to a handful of obscure metal bands, so I was happy to expand that palette with Undertow, the latest effort from melodic/post hardcore band The IdoruThe Idoru originally formed back in 2003 and put out four albums alongside some EP’s before going on hiatus for the better part of the 2010’s.  In 2020 they re-emerged with the three track Old Songs EP, and Undertow finds them keeping the momentum from that release.  Where other bands of this type tend to be a bit more singularly focused, these guys move from hard hitting punk, heavier songs with metallic edges, and sing-along melodies.  It does have a couple of lulls on the second half, but this is still a strong comeback effort from a band with plenty of variety to offer.

Undertow has a lot going for it, as not only do the ten tracks flow seamlessly together while still offering quite a bit of variety, but at just over half an hour The Idoru keeps things short and sweet.  Songs establish their main hooks early and don’t overstay their welcome, catching your attention and enticing you to hit the repeat button for another spin.  Stylistically these guys capture a little bit of everything from across the hardcore and punk spectrum, though they use a lot of melodic and post hardcore as their foundation.  Opener “The King is Naked” comes in with an extremely fast pace and soaring guitar work that makes an immediate impression, and when they reach these tempos The Idoru channels quite a bit of skate punk’s grit.  Songs like “The Center of Everything” and “Lighthouse” also transition over to some genuinely heavy parts in between the melodic leads, heading into metal territory without fully abandoning their punk roots.  On the flipside, songs like “New Direction” spend a good deal of time exploring the softer side of the spectrum with a more introspective sound, but the lumbering bass lines still give things a heavier edge.  There’s a lot of variety from one song to the next, as the way The Idoru explores the aggressive and melancholic side of the spectrum isn’t always predictable.  Admittedly while Undertow is consistent from beginning to end, the strongest hooks are on the first half and there are a few on the second half that don’t stand out quite as much.  The exception to this is “Beyond Good and Evil”, which closes things out with infectious guitar work. 

Lead singer András Bödecs is still in fine form throughout Undertow, as he has the type of voice that soars over top of the rest of the band and instantly grabs your attention.  Bödecs comes in with a much faster and sharper delivery on opener “The King is Naked”, but it doesn’t take long to hear just how much ground he can cover.  When necessary the singing heads into yelling territory, capturing more of the aggressive side of the hardcore and punk spectrum, but there are just as many sections where things soften up and the pitch complements the warmer guitar melodies.  There are also plenty of harmonies and gang chants that keep things high energy from one song to the next, and it’s great to hear that The Idoru can provide as much variation on the vocal front.  Considering how dependent melodic and post hardcore are on the strength of who is behind the mic, The Idoru is still in very capable hands.

The Idoru was a new discovery for me and they’ve made a fantastic first impression, as Undertow keeps things high energy and catchy while offering a ton of variety.  Sometimes they get really fast and heavier than you might expect, while other moments capture that same warm and inviting atmosphere as some of the best melodic hardcore from the late 90s and early 2000s.  There are a few songs on the second half that don’t quite reach the peaks of the first, but this is still a great effort from this long running band.  Undertow is available from Black Star Foundation.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg