“Car Crash” sees IDLES operating free from constraints and unshackled from any notions of what an IDLES song should sound like. It chronicles frontman Joe Talbot’s own near-fatal experience behind the wheel, one of many stories of trauma, addiction, survival and recovery the band vividly bring to life on CRAWLER.
Speaking about the track Talbot says: “It’s the horrific, comedown hangover — waking up in the morning and realising the smashes, like, what the fuck am I doing with my life?”
Guitarist and co-producer Mark Bowen adds, “We wanted it to be as violent as possible to reflect that event. I really wanted it to be this sonic touchstone. We recorded the drums beforehand and put them on a vinyl acetate. Whenever you replay an acetate, because it is kind of like a liquid, it degrades every time. It touches on things being transient and momentary — even a single drum hit. It’s like a memory, when the moment has passed and you deal with the repercussions over and over again, and they morph and change into something else. It’s one of the first times on an IDLES song where we used proper effects on the vocals — it was Joe going through my pedal board, so you get both clarity and degradation”
The video, created by Matthew Cusick and edited by IDLES’ Lee Kiernan, was a project that began in 2001. Cusick took a break from painting and began digitally cataloging car chase scenes from 20th century American cinema as an extension of his paintings and map collages. Appropriating footage from as early as the Keystone Cops, Cusick assembled “File on Motor Transgression, 2001-2011” by condensing more than 500 car chases into a navigation of the American landscape throughout cinematic history. On collaborating with IDLES in Cusick’s words: “It is a gut wrenching, symbiotic conclusion to the piece. It has now what it was always missing… a killer soundtrack.”
Just out via Partisan, CRAWLER is IDLES’ fourth album in as many years and the follow-up to their first UK No. 1, 2020’s Ultra Mono. The 14-track project was recorded at the famed Real World Studios in Bath, England during the COVID-19 pandemic and co-produced by Kenny Beats (Vince Staples, Slowthai, Freddie Gibbs) and IDLES guitarist Mark Bowen.