Joe Talbot doesn’t think ‘Ultra Mono’ worked “as a home-listening device”.
The IDLES frontman has opened up on the group’s third album – which came out in September 2020, with live music on hold due to the pandemic – and he suggested the record suffered by not being released at a time fans could experience it in person.
He told Mojo magazine: “I think that album translated badly as a home-listening device. The whole point of that record was to build a narrative with our audience.
“The album itself was a caricature of what people thought of us and we wanted to kind of twist that up and then burn that effigy so we would start ‘Crawler’.
“We can’t make another ‘Joy’, we can’t make another ‘Ultra Mono’. We just can’t go back. Because we’ve done it. To death.
“We’ve done the biggest loudest most brash big rock album version of ourselves we can and we won’t go back there. We have to move forward.”
Now, the band are focused on their upcoming fourth record ‘Crawler’, which deals lyrically with Joe’s battle with addiction and his decision to go sober in December 2019.
Reflecting on a defining moment in New York City, he said: “I’d been sober all week. I had a mental spiralling breakdown in San Francisco which was one of maybe two I’d have in a year. Two’s a lot considering how bad they are…
“[Our tour guy] turned to me and said, ‘You know you’re better when you’re sober?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I know.’
“And he was like, ‘I don’t mean shows. I mean everything. You’re just not good when you drink. Even after one beer, you’ve not as good a person.’
“So I stopped. It just took one drunk guy to say it right and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ “
Given the personal nature of the album, Joe admitted some fans might not truly get the LP, but he’s delighted with the collection.
He added: “It’s a story about the worst years of my life but also the best, the most brilliant. If you don’t like hearing tales of struggle then you won’t like it. But it makes me feel happy because I’m hear. I’m alive.”