Joy is an act of resistance: I saw the phrase and sat back awash with ecstasy!” says Idles singer Joe Talbot about the title of the band’s second album.

“Sometimes, all your stuff aligns in perfect order as words touch your heart and mind in one swift kick.”

The album, the second released by the Bristol five-piece has assured their reputation as the most exciting new band in rock – securing them a Best breakthrough act at last week’s Q Awards.

The follow up to last year’s Brutalism it sees the band exposing their vulnerability and dealing with such heady current obsessions as so-called toxic masculinity, love, self-love, immigration, Brexit, and, that old British staple, the class system.

There’s also grief. Brutalism was written through the prism of Joe’s emotions after the death of his mum. She had suffered a stroke five years earlier and Joe cared for her right up to the end, his stepfather also having passed away. It is packed with rage, and his mother looms large living on in the music, on the sleeve image and, literally, within the record – her ashes being pressed into 100 vinyl LPs.

Tragedy struck again last year, as the band were working on Joy As An Act of Resistance, when Joe’s daughter, Agatha, died at birth.

Both experiences, and the inner fragility they exposed, inform the album – with charted at number 5 and sold 11,000 copies in its first week.

“This album was on its way and we, as always, were moving forward with big old grins up front,” Joe says. “But I felt I was scrambling a bit; scrambling for words and scrambling for notions that fit where I was.

“We hold honesty as a paramount concern in our art but the trouble with being honest is that when you work harder to find the truth within, the more dislocated you become from... you!

“One can’t be themself if one spends too much time outside looking in; and that’s exactly what I was doing on the heels of Brutalism.

“It wasn’t until my partner and I had our world obliterated and I felt cut in half that I realised I was nothing alone and that I was only here because of my partner and my loved ones and the band, whose love and compassion had carried us through such deep anguish.

“It was at that moment I realised that our ‘success’, so far, was down to an act of being naive and vulnerable: our own strange ugly transparency had encouraged others to be honest to themselves and in turn others and us.

“It is that bravery to freely express yourself that so terrifies the tyrants, as when we share each other’s pain we become stronger as communities and less reliant on our state.

“All we needed to do was enjoy ourselves again; not the Idles that we were, told as a perspective of Brutalism, but who we were at that exact moment; it was beautiful.”

And the name, he says, just worked.

“When I read the phrase “Joy is an act of resistance” I immediately knew that that was something we were gifting from the very first moment we started [messing] around with each other.

“There was always something fearless in our band as we just laughed off the [nonsense] and truly loved the interactions our music created – but, more so, we became fearless in writing exactly what we loved and stopped being fearful of judgement or being told we are just derivative or clumsy.

“It is now with the second album that I have realised that I needed to truly love myself in order to write this album honestly as, once again, I let go of worrying about the world telling me something that I already knew: I am completely flawed... but so are you and that’s okay.

“We are not alone.”

And he hopes that by emotionally exposing himself it will encourage listeners to do the same.

“This album is an attempt to be vulnerable to our audience, to encourage vulnerability; a mere brave naked smile in this shitty new world. We have stripped back the songs and the lyrics to our bare flesh to allow each other to breathe and to celebrate our differences and act as an ode to communities and the individuals that forge them, because without our community we’d be nothing.”

The music speaks loudly – especially to people who, like Joe, have struggled with life in a small town. His song Never Fight a Man with a Perm sums up the latent violence and pointless, unfocussed aggression that comes from being an outsider in a place you can’t wait to leave.

“I wanted this album to be a space of vulnerability,” he says.

“I’m really not proud of where I was when I was young but this song is an exploration of what I became and who so many young men became around me in a ‘fish bowl’ town with no diversity in any sense.

“That person was not me entirely and I feel I am relieved to know that it was circumstance. I do not carry shame with me now because I am no longer under such rage and I can reflect with you, beautifully.”

He senses the country splitting, with people exploiting the differences thrown up by divisive politics and differences over Brexit. They find voice in his song Danny Nedelko – an anthem for immigration named after a Ukranian friend of the band. It’s a rallying call for understanding.

“I was excited by the country polarising. Truly,” he says. “ I thought that the right and the left dividing that pit of comfort would just spark some passion among the young and old and we’d all have some debate and fix things.

“I was stupid; history has repeated and the marginalised have been blamed again. I wanted to just approach this fire with love, only. I will only see a brother and a sister in the eyes of an immigrant and be grateful for this island they’ve helped build and sustain and flourish.”

But it is on June that his tortured emotions really run free. “I had a moment of agonising and catastrophic pain that could not be healed quick nor alone,” he recalls. “My loved ones helped my partner and I through that moment. This song was written within that storm and I understand it is indulgent and weak but in the worst parts of your life you will need to be exactly those things.

If your community is true they will support you to be indulgent and weak. Because of them we are alive and healing.”

  • Idles play the O2 Academy Oxford on Monday. Tickets have sold out