U.K. rock band Idles will release its fourth album, “Crawler,” on Nov. 12 via Partisan Records. Produced by Kenny Beats (Vince Staples, Denzel Curry) and Idles guitarist Mark Bowen, it’s the follow-up to 2020’s “Ultra Mono,” the band’s first chart-topper in its home territory. The first single, the surprisingly soulful and restrained “The Beachland Ballroom,” is out now.
“The two prior LPs, we had a theme and a title and then we wrote the songs,” Idles frontman Joe Talbot tells Variety. “This time, the title and theme kind of got lost, and Bowen and I just wrote songs. That feeling we got from them wrote the album. We found it to be a healthier mix. It just made us write really well.”
“Creatively, we thrive off of restrictions,” adds Bowen. “We had to write on our own, because we couldn’t get into a room with each other. We had some poetic license with the themes and the abstract ideas. We were restricted by setting. It takes you away from the self-aware aspect of being in a band. You’re not reading press [or thinking], we need to write a smash hit because of the charts. We were just writing music because we love writing music. It feels a lot more pure.”
“The Beachland Ballroom” is named after and inspired by the Cleveland concert venue that also features a smaller room, the Beachland Tavern. Idles played the latter its first time through the city, and while there, Talbot recalls peeking through a window, admiring the larger adjacent Ballroom and aspiring to make the jump there on the band’s next tour. “Being able to write a soul tune like this made me go, fuck — we’re at a place where we’re actually allowed to go to these big rooms and be creative and not just go through the motions and really appreciate what we’ve got,” he says.
Although Beats is primarily known as a hip-hop producer, that distinction made him a welcome new Idles collaborator, according to Talbot. “Kenny’s very welcoming and his energy levels are through the roof, but in a very infectious way,” he says. “It’s not an egotistical energy, where it’s all about him and his stories. He just wants to bring you up. He encourages your individuality with brilliance.”
Recorded during the COVID-10 pandemic at the legendary Real World Studios in Bath, the 14-track “Crawler” is said to feature “vivid stories of trauma, addiction and recovery.” Idles will preview material from the album on a sold-out North American tour, which kicks off Oct. 7 in St. Paul, Minn. A U.K. and European run starts with a Jan. 16-19 run at London’s 5,000-capacity 02 Academy Brixton.