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It’s a little over a year since IDLES released their magnificent third studio album ‘Ultra Mono’, but already their fourth has arrived. ‘CRAWLER’ was actually only announced on September 28th as the band dropped the lead single, ‘The Beachland Ballroom’.

So with minimal promotion and fanfare can this album continue the incredible hot streak that the band find themselves on? With just two pre-release singles fans will need to sink their teeth fully into ‘CRAWLER’ to find out, so let’s do just that.

The album starts with ‘MTT 420 RR’ and ‘The Wheel’ quickly establishing that this is definitely an IDLES album. That may sound silly, but following the initial singles there was an element of worry from some that the album may represent a significant departure from their much heralded sound.

Of course, it’s tricky for artists to evolve, with that especially true in the rock or guitar music world. Natural progression can often be seen as selling out by fans loyal to an artist’s early work, making it difficult not to alienate your audience whilst experimenting with your art.

IDLES – ‘Car Crash’

Again as we continue the album with ‘When the Lights Come On’, ‘Car Crash’ and ‘New Sensation’, it’s clear that IDLES have maintained the essence of what has brought them to this point. That said it’s also abundantly obvious that they haven’t been afraid to divert course. They are still on the same road but they have changed lanes.

This shouldn’t be a surprise though as they started to indicate this lane change on ‘Ultra Mono’. Keep doing the same thing and the band will be accused of simple IDLES-by-numbers output, but dare evolve their sound and they will be deemed to have sold out or some similar nonsense.

It really is a hard balance to strike, but on ‘CRAWLER’ they have managed to do just that. This isn’t Dylan going electric, but it is a band stretching their legs. As the album moves on through ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, ‘The Beachland Ballroom’, ‘Crawl!’ and ‘Meds’ you can’t help but imagine how huge these songs will sound live.

Listen to ‘The Beachland Ballroom’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Nobody really expected a new IDLES album so soon after ‘Ultra Mono’, but we’ve got one and ‘CRAWLER’ does exactly what it needs to do. As the band head towards their sold out tour next year, they now have four albums of incredible material to choose from.

The hot streak remains intact and IDLES continue to be one of the most exciting and vital bands around.

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Read our review of IDLES live at PRYZM, Kingston

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