IDLES – Crawler – Album Review
by Killian Laher
IDLES release their new album Crawler, just 12 months after their last. You can’t knock them for being… eh…. idle(!), this will definitely sate the appetite of fans who can’t see them live yet.
Opener MTT 420 RR starts quietly, brooding without fully exploding into life. It’s a good trick and makes this one an excellent exercise in building tension, without the predictable explosion. They do flag what’s to come, asking “are you ready for the storm?”. The rest of the album is pretty much business as usual. The Wheel is a proper punk anthem, built for the live stage as singer Joe Talbot bawls out the lyrics, likewise with The New Sensation and Stockholm Syndrome. They do have a certain formula, on the latter two Talbot bellows out the title over hard rhythms and bashed guitar chords. Car Crash is shouty, almost an incursion into rap territory, built on heavy bass, Talbot’s voice and little else.
The album works a lot better when the band take the intensity down a notch or two. When The Lights Come On is a post-punk epic that builds gradually, while The Beachland Ballroom is a major departure for them. Talbot still roars the lyrics but the music is largely calm and melodic. Their default setting is for more bawlers like Crawl! and Meds.
It’s a little exhausting to listen to by the time it’s complete. There’s a fair chance that if you liked the last album you’ll like this. But the obvious question here is does anybody really need another album of this? Not sure the band quite answer it here.