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Watch Idles’ dark, unsettling video for When The Lights Come On

Idles video still
(Image credit: Partisan Records)

IDLES have released an unsettling video for When The Lights Come On, the third single to be released from their recently-released fourth album Crawler.

Lyrically, the song is based around vocalist Joe Talbot’s memories and reflections of being the ‘last man standing’ at social gatherings where alcohol/drugs are involved: “Not a single face I’ve seen is a friend I recognise or recognises me,” he sings. “I black out, I don’t want your dim sum. It’s 3am, I wanna dance til the sun comes. I wanna fight your cousin.”

The accompanying video features George Garratt from fellow Bristol punks Heavy Lungs a) riding a bicycle at night while wearing a bizarre spiky outfit and b) repeatedly falling to the ground in slow motion.

Speaking about the song recently in MOJO magazine, Talbot revealed that the song is based, to a large extent, on personal experience. He recalled an older man hanging out at parties with his friends in years gone by, then having a moment of clarity where he realised that he was in danger of becoming that man. 

“I was DJing at a hip-hop night for seven years and by the end I was like the oldest in the room by… a lot,” he remembered.

After one club night, Talbot recalls going to a house party where “they were all doing M-Cat. I was like, ‘What am I doing here?’ I am That Guy. And I left. Fuck this. But addiction will do that. You'll excuse yourself into any sort of social pocket of it allows you to get wasted on drugs. The younger the groups, the easier it is to get away with drinking five nights a week.”

IDLES will close out their 2021 playing with The Strokes in New York on New Year’s Eve, before embarking on a huge UK and European tour in mid-January, beginning with four sold-out nights at London’s 4,900-capacity Brixton Academy. 

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.