Artist: The Cribs
Title: In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull
Record Label: Witchita
For The Cribs it must seem like waking up from a bizarre dream as they look back over the past three years, notably, counting Johnny Marr as an auxiliary guitarist and having him join their band must have seemed very surreal. In the wake of Marr departing from the outfit in 2011, The Cribs reset back to the power trio of twins Ryan and Gary Jarman along with younger sibling Ross. The brothers teamed up with Steve Albini to rattle out the antithesis to Ignore The Ignorant’s polished sheen. The spoils from these sessions have resulted in the group’s fifth LP, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull. The Jarmans have welcomed back the fuzz but not lost their pop sensibility with their latest body of work.
ITBOTBB gets off to a false start with the clunky ‘Glitters Like Gold’ but it quickly catches up with itself once ‘Come On, Be A No-One’ roars into view and ‘Jaded Youth’ follows suit with its punk rock brilliance. Both tracks encapsulate The Cribs’ ramshackle tendency with an enticing pop hook while carrying on their infamous diatribes at scene wannabes. No matter how much scuzz the band apply to their output, you can’t help but hear a pop nugget waiting to burst through the grime.
One track that marries the Marr-era Cribs and the fuzz loving Cribs is the wonderfully titled ‘Back To The Bolthole’ that sounds like a thousand wasps being fired out of a cannon into an electric fence. The track grinds like a really pissed off Sonic Youth but when the chorus kicks in Ryan’s bellowed vocal usurps the walls of sound to provide an impassioned delivery. As the track screeches to a close, from this point onwards the record appears to stumble almost to a fall, however just as you think it is going to come crashing to the ground it strides on confidently for one final hoorah with ‘Arena Rock Encore With Full Cast’. The aforementioned track boasts a tongue in cheek analytical lyric towards the bands recent form “Sorry that its taken years/we were victims of our own ideals”. It’s with this fitting finale the pieces of the puzzle all slot into place. The Cribs have found themselves straddling the mainstream and the indie circuit trying to keep each camp happy, however with ITBOTBB it is difficult to tell if the band are themselves. Maybe it’s time to choose a camp gents?
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams