The Nick Cave song Joe Talbot called “perfect”
IDLES exploded off the Bristol rock scene in the mid 2010s with a plethora of EPs leading up to their critically acclaimed debut album. brutalismthat landed in 2017. The band followed Joy as an act of resistance in the following year with Ultra Mono Arriving at the height of the Covid-19 hysteria in September 2020.
The recurring theme of the first three albums was anger, invariably directed at social inequality and incompetent political leadership – often against the Conservative Party. Remember, “the best way to scare a Tory is to read and get rich,” as frontman Joe Talbot roars on “Mother.”
In 2021 crawler, IDLES’ fourth studio effort, Talbot is a lot less angry, or at least less outwardly. Instead, the music follows a predominantly introspective thread as Talbot poetically observes a period of healing after a period of therapy and a newfound life in sobriety.
In 2021, he discussed Crawler as a reactionary sequel to its overwhelming predecessor. Ultra Monosaid Talbot NME: “The frustration and alienation made us realize what we did wrong. I realized I had to start blaming myself for my mistranslations in what I wanted to say and what I actually said in the songs.”
“I was in therapy for two years and I realized I was angry at the wrong people,” he added. “The critics weren’t the ones who were wrong – I was. It’s nice because I can see now Ultra Mono for what it is – a fantastic live album with a couple of songs that really got me lost.”
Ultra Mono was released in September 2020 as IDLES’ third studio album. The album came with the raw fury fans had grown accustomed to from the first two albums, but drew mixed critical attention for its needless level of provocation.
The album featured guest appearances from Jehnny Beth of Savages, Jesus Lizard singer David Yow, jazz pop singer and radio host Jamie Cullum and last but not least Warren Ellis, composer of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Dirty Three.
As it turns out, IDLES and frontman Talbot in particular are big fans of Nick Cave and his varied catalogue. Along with their punk roots, Talbot and Cave share a troubled history with addiction and have found solace in sobriety and creativity in recent years.
Featuring in choosing some of the most important songs of his life in a 2020 feature Kerrang, Talbot picked the song “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds as a song that always makes him cry. The classic was released on Cave’s 1997 Masterpiece album, The boatswain’s call and is considered one of his most enduring classics.
“When a character like Nick Cave — a father figure, someone who seems unbreakable and strong — becomes vulnerable and opens up, it’s a beautiful thing,” Talbot said of his idol. “It’s one of the most perfect songs ever written; it is so tender. i love it and i love him. It reminds me of my partner and she always makes me cry.”
Listen to “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds below.