Idles’ massive comeback: “We’ve always used violence as part of our vocabulary” | idle

Towards the end of Idles’ upcoming fourth album, lead singer Joe Talbot, Crawler, comes to an elated realization. The 37-year-old howls, “In spite of all this, life is beautiful.”

It’s the fitting result of a band that has experienced personal tragedy and childhood trauma, and in just four years has cemented their status as a The face of the British Post-Bank. Their debut album, Brutality, took off as Talbot raged about rape culture (“Sexual violence doesn’t start and ends with rape/It starts in our books and behind our school gates,” shouting at the fan-favorite mom), NHS funding and white privilege. follow it Joy as an act of resistance They criticized toxic masculinity with similar anthems and threw its creators to number five on the UK album chart. Last few years Ultra mono, performing a more varied wave of synths, piano, and rocker vocals, even better, finding its way into number one.

“It’s been a quiet week,” Talbot joked. Rare of intense speaker. “It didn’t show that we were a great band; it showed that we had a great audience. We embraced a loving community that built us to the point where we could get No. 1 in closing. It’s not our achievement, it’s their achievement.”

If everything seems rough in the world of Idles, the pain has preceded their ascent — and their new album starkly shines that. Where previous albums have been, lyrically, “broad-blow” discussions of social and political conflict, Crawler is their first foray into true storytelling. “Usually, I’m more of a painter,” Talbot says. “I articulate ideas and present them in front of an audience; this album has more story.”

Specifically, Crawler tells about the singer’s 15-year struggle with drug abuse. Talbot was born in 1984, the son of an artist father and a mother who worked for the Internal Revenue Service. His parents separated when he was an infant. At the age of 10 he remembers crying on his knees and begging his mother to stop drinking. He began using the substances at age 12, after a non-fatal heart attack. (He refuses to specify the materials, because “I want to be able to ride on planes”) Four years later she had a stroke. After the death of his stepfather, Talbot became his mother’s caregiver until she, too, died while Idles practiced brutality.

Idles shows at Eden Sessions, September 2021.
Idles shows at Eden Sessions, September 2021. Photo: Martha Fitzpatrick/Redfernce

He was rock bottom from drug use by Talbot when he crashed into a car while high. “It should have been a turning point, but it wasn’t,” he says. It is this collision that begins the story of the creeper. “I can see my spinal cords bursting high,” Talbot sings gloomily over the creeping combinations of the MTT 420 RR opener.

“A car accident is a violent image, and we’ve always used violence – whether it’s the violence of joy, the violence of love, or the violence of grief – as part of our vocabulary as musicians,” he explains. “It is important for me to make sure that people are aware of the violent and unattractive nature of the cycle of alcoholism or drug abuse.”

The crash had existential repercussions for Talbot, who questioned his life path. So, fittingly, the second track The Wheel — back to the reckless punk heart of Idles — returns to the episode that started his addiction: the journey from begging his mother to quit substances to using them himself just two years later. And so it turns, again and again … ”the song repeats.

Despite the personal narrative at the heart of Crawler’s game, it still incorporates the political discourses that defined Idles. The new sensation is a disruptive dance number that highlights the powerful response music can elicit (“Shake it to the snare and get down to kick/Shake your tucci like you don’t care”); Although never mentioned directly, it is described as a reaction to Rishi Sunak. In October 2020 – in the midst of a pandemic – the consultant was asked by ITN: “If [professional musicians] You can’t make enough money to live, so is your message to them: “You’re going to have to get another job”? “I can’t pretend that everyone can do the same job they did at the beginning of this crisis,” Sunak replied.

Although he wrote a song about him, Talbot seems oddly neutral towards the politician. “If it were in front of me, I wouldn’t have much to say to Rishi; I have a lot of questions,” he says. “The point of turmoil in this country is political, not political. It’s not Rishi Sunak I’m here to talk to him. He is smarter than me. will win. Not me opposite. We are against them.”

Joe Talbot on stage.
Joe Talbot on stage. Photo: Jim Dyson/Getty Images

For some, unclear situations like this one can be an undoing of Idles. In February 2019, Sleaford Mods singer Jason Williamson denounced the band’s policies as “vulgar, bigoted, humiliating and mediocre,” while Fat White Family joined five days later, posting: “The last thing our rapidly growing culture needs right now is a handful of boobs The self-protective middle class tells us to be nice to immigrants.” Talbot responded in an interview, telling the Observer, “I’m not a virtue in a sign…I’m saying: That’s what I believe in.” Today, he is keen to avoid controversies altogether. “I love everything and I am nothing,” that’s all he had to say.

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However, despite all this, life is beautiful. In the spring of 2020, the sober Talbot and his wife Beth gave birth to a daughter, Frieda Ray, three years after the couple’s first child was stillborn. With the dawning of optimistic 2021, the singer and his bandmates worked in isolation to make Crawler’s album the most eclectic. It took a break from the rest of the world for the band to realize, in Talbot’s words, “We can do whatever we want!

“Moses Sumney, Thom Yorke, Nick Cave: None of these people stood tall enough to be labeled as something other than their identity. It’s the idea of ​​privacy. This is something we wanted to use Ultra Mono as: a model for what we built ourselves so we could burn it ourselves and move on. feet”.

After the Crawler, Idles will resume their mission, according to Talbot, “to be the best live band on the planet.” Ambition is not something he lacks. And after 15 years spent crawling to recover, he’s impatient to run to the top.

Creeper will be out on November 12th on Partican Records.

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