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CD of The Week

Week of 11/29/21

    IDLES - Crawler (Partisan)

    Within the burgeoning revival of UK post-punk, IDLES stands out as one of the most prolific, having released four albums in as many years. The latest entitled Crawler is wrought with the usual tense and dramatic courses on display throughout their catalog, but here, vocalist Joe Talbot lies bare his grief and pain from dealing with addiction and the aftermath of a horrific car crash. It's beautifully chaotic and brutally cathartic.

    The dark and atmospheric opener "MTT 420 RR" sets the tone of the record and harrowingly depicts the aforementioned auto accident. Talbot recounts the devastating consequences of alcoholism on "The Wheel" as a 10-year-old boy watching his mother crash and burn. The metaphors don't stop there. "Car Crash" is the U.S. equivalent of calling yourself a trainwreck. The influence of Bauhaus is prominent on "When The Lights Come On," a goth-y banger about finding yourself in the club at the end of a bender wondering where all your friends went.

    By the fifth track "The New Sensation" IDLES start to have a little fun with a critic who opined that musicians should've retrained in the arts during lockdown, Talbot retorts that we should all "Shake your tiny tooshie like you don't give a s**t." The soulful lead single "The Beachland Ballroom," named after a famous Cleveland club, is evocative of Arctic Monkeys slowing things down on their introspective Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino.

    Crawler suffers from a bit of aural repetition with a few songs in the middle employing the same fast-paced boom-boom-chick backbeat, but following Talbot's journey is just as gritty as it is exhilarating. IDLES have set themselves apart from the rest of the pack by constantly refreshing their approach without reinventing the wheel.
    Review by Dave Lindquist

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