In an era when rock’s young outsiders are paragons of virtue whose vocals are as cleansed as their souls, there has always been something heartening about The Cribs’ wilful commercial abandon, slack guitar fuzz, off-kilter melodies and prickly attitude towards hipsters.
With an instantly identifiable sound the three Jarman brothers are Yorkshire’s long-lost answer to the Ramones. They also have a penchant for enlisting indie legends as creative partners to stretch the tight boundaries of their sound a little.
Following Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr’s contribution to 2009’s Ignore The Ignorant, for their latest album another 80s icon, Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, has been brought on board to produce their sixth studio album and their first for a major label. Ocasek performed the same duties on Weezer’s self-titled (Blue) breakthrough album, and he helps generate a similar mid-tempo power-pop buzz here.
The results lift The Cribs to a new level, adding touches of Big Star and Sonic Youth’s poppier moments to their ramshackle sound. Opener Finally Free is the instant crowd pleaser, but slow-burners Diamond Girl and Pink Snow find them in ambitious new album rock territory./o:p