‘Car Crash’ is an abrasive cut inspired by frontman Joe Talbot’s near-death experience behind the wheel. “It’s the horrific, comedown hangover,” Talbot says. “Waking up in the morning and realising the smashes, like, what the fuck am I doing with my life?”
That intensity and violence is reflected in the song itself, slow-burning and sonically confronting, as Talbot snarls above a bed of distorted bass, angular guitar and drums which were recorded and then put on a vinyl acetate.
“Whenever you replay an acetate, because it is kind of like a liquid, it degrades every time,” guitarist Mark Bowen explains. “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.”
‘Car Crash’ arrives alongside a video created by artist Matthew Cusick and edited by the band’s Lee Kiernan. The project began with Cusick in 2001, when he began digitally cataloguing car chase scenes from 20th century American cinema, compiling over 500 car crashes. “It is a gut wrenching, symbiotic conclusion to the piece,” Cusick says of working with IDLES. “It has now what it was always missing… a killer soundtrack.”
Watch the video for ‘Car Crash’ below. Crawler, IDLES’ fourth studio album, is set to arrive on November 12, following on from last year’s Ultra Mono.