The Cribs: '24-7 Rock Star Shit' / Album Review
Signed to Wichita Recordings in 2002 during the scramble to find a UK Strokes, The Cribs marched forward draping the indie flag over their linked sibling shoulders. Ross, Gary and Ryan Jarman became the faces of a thoroughly admired cult band that would stir up their own original lo-fi sound.
In today's music climate, a band's first few albums are seen as their refined style and what you should expect from them. Now very much into their career, 24-7 Rock Star Shit by The Cribs exhibits a bands appetite to further distill their image of post-grunge and to lose their indie-pop symbolism.
Like many of the early 2000’s indie bands (Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes) they have surprised their audiences and critics by evolving their sound and context to avenues previously not foreseen. They have departed and mislead their respected genres by facetiously gaining new tones and imagery for their music.
This is not to say their early work is primitive or unloved (very much the opposite) but simply building blocks. It's easy to mistake an artist's raw and natural textures for a sound that will remain stagnant and undeveloped. However, there have been many unsuccessful cases in regards to encrypting longevity in an industry ever changing.
The Cribs aim to advance by glancing back and admiring their roots it seems. Retracing their grunge influences and dropping the indie pop characteristic they previously fashioned and wore as a badge. Whereas the Arctic Monkeys found inspiration in trading in their Reebok tracksuits for leather jackets and Brylcreem, The Cribs are more and more concentrating their efforts in simplifying their raw gritty timbre.
Songs like ‘Rainbow Ridge’ hark back to the glory days of Nirvana (a mood more than likely contributed by Steve Albini who produced this album and Nirvana). With blurry, harsh walls of distorted guitar hurtling towards you, only to be cut open by screamed vocal lines of intense scherzo. Even the bright jingle jangle playing style clout of ex-Cribs (and The Smiths) member Johnny Marr has been lost in the noise. But the reductive post punk approach remains.
Cynical lines in ‘What Have You Done For Me?’ encapsulate the power of hiding your whining thoughts behind a fortification of grunge attitude. A listener is more willing to be exposed to your questions and ailments when given the opportunity to smash their head around to a rhythm and groove fuzzed up by undecorated instrumentation.
Stuck between all the ruckus drama, ‘Sticks Not Twigs’ shimmers with its soft sung and calmly played demeanour. Slightly out of tune harmonies in the chorus capture a sentimental ambience which in turn, loosens up the album. A breath of revealing air and a pause to re-evaluate before the return of the oncoming storm.
The name is on the tin. 24-7 Rock Star Shit boasts edgy riffs and gloriously hard driven sounds. The Cribs already occupy a place in music heritage, this album represents a desire to play to their youthful isolated genius, obtained growing up on Post-Punk and Grunge, whilst also continuing to drive their craft forward.
By Hugo Lagnado