One of the most intriguing artist/producer collaborations of this millennium so far, has to be the three Jarman brothers of Wakefield who form The Cribs, teaming up with Mr Franz Ferdinand himself, Alex Kopranos. Immediately, through our ‘Our Bovine Public’ the impact of the latter personality sticks out, as the coarse, almost shouting style of Ryan Jarman is coated by a slick and funky sound that builds up the atmosphere in between the terse cries. The streetwise nature of the band of old is still as prevalent, but there is more searching done through this third album, something that is drawn out early on in ‘Girls Like Mystery’.
The pronounced, twining bass lines of Gary Jarman lend a bluesy feel to ‘Moving Pictures’. This vibe is also given off through the slower, creaking vocals and the impression is given that the brothers Jarman, wish to highlight what they have to say a bit more. Indeed, their social commentary is as succinct and blunt as ever. ‘I’m A Realist’ is a case in point;
“I’m a realist, I’m a romantic, I’m an indecisive,
I’m an indecisive: piece of shit.”
Greater attention has been paid to mood setting in this full length foray. More vocal variety and slow building percussion is a particular feature, lifting ‘Major’s Tilting Victory’ up a notch. Trundling guitars nudge the slow building, desperate cry of ‘I’ve Tried Everything’ along, it is an approach that builds neatly into their customary bemused and rising chorus. A laboured jangle still forms the fulcrum of the bulk of the songs, but it has been spiced up through the production and some neat percussion jangles provide a neat contrast. ‘My Life Before My Eyes’ coasts proudly as the flagship for this newer approach. A Baz Luhrman and Lazy-B style takes over for ‘Be Safe’, as spoken word verses dissect humanity with precision before the punk fuelled chorus kicks in.
With potential revellers the country over compiling their must-see bands at festivals lists. The Cribs serve a reminder of their potency, force and a more attentive approach to song structure that will see them happily added to many lists.