CRAWLER

by IDLES

Released November 12, 2021 via Partisan Records

Reviewed November 24, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Car Crash (57%), The Beachland Ballroom (52%), Crawl! (38%)

Over the past few years, IDLES have established themselves as one of this generation’s greatest punk bands. Just over a year after 2020’s Ultra Mono, they are already back with yet another masterpiece. CRAWLER sees the band stepping into entirely new territory, while still maintaining the general sound that fans have fallen in love with since the band’s inception. With gnarly bass throughout nearly every track, it’s possibly their dirtiest, funkiest sounding album to date, using sounds you would never expect to hear on an IDLES song. Lyrically, CRAWLER generally strays away from the politicized messages they’ve become known for; instead, the group favors of a much more personal approach to songwriting, with lead vocalist Joe Talbot delving into his history of addiction and the trauma, grief, and pain it causes. All of this comes together for the most personal, intimate-sounding album within the IDLES discography. – Hadley (9/10)

Similar to IDLES’ previous effort, 2020’s Ultra Mono, CRAWLER sees the band leaning into the noisier aspects of their sound, with most tracks centering around suffocating walls of noise. Not without exception, IDLES surrender their raucous energy for moments of tender vulnerability on cuts like the lead single, “The Beachland Ballroom,” a bluesy and soulful ballad that appears at the album’s midpoint. While the criticisms levied at Ultra Mono—predominately in its songwriting, which felt watered-down and lacking—were often a bit exaggerated, there’s no doubt that CRAWLER is a return to form on that front. The band’s least political effort yet delves into the personal struggles of vocalist Joe Talbot and his on-and-off battles with substance abuse. Talbot infuses charm and humor, as expected, but is much more honest and introspective, as he reflects upon the challenges of confronting, accepting, and reconciling with his own internal dilemmas. – Dominick (8.8/10)

IDLES’ fourth album in five years, CRAWLER, captures moments of their peak with some new sights, sounds and textures to add to the band’s universe––the frantic, flustered saxophone on “Meds” or the subtle electronic workings on “Progress,” for example. Opening track “MTT 420 RR” sets the tone for what could have been a brooding, slow burn bonanza; that possibility is thrown out the window the second “The Wheel” hits the road, but the door is there if need be. There's something enticing about this introspective side of the band. A serenely sullen outlook is always somewhat relatable––Joe Talbot is the ideal candidate for the lead role under these circumstances. The group's thoughts on the backlash of Ultra Mono are quite concise and clear on penultimate track, “King Snake”—”Don't like it? Don't listen.” Simple as that. – Peter (7/10)


Hadley: 9/10 | Dominick: 8.8/10 | Henny: 8.2/10 | Cam: 8/10

Jared: 7.5/10 | DeVán: 7/10 | Peter: 7/10