The Cribs have had a strange career. They’ve been a pretty consistent band in Indie for quite some time yet the only people who have ever really paid them any attention are NME and the series of guest musicians that have appeared on their albums in the past. Considering the guests themselves were the likes of Johnny Marr and veteran producers like Nick Launay (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Nick Cave) it’s even harder to believe that they haven’t really had any sort of big break. Their newest album ‘For All My Sisters’ enlists yet another great producer who helped create Weezer’s ‘Blue Album’, the former Cars member, Ric Ocasek. ‘…Sisters’ is the first album of two from The Cribs with this one being the ‘Pop’ one and the other being the ‘Punk’ one.
With this in mind it seems appropriate that the Weezer producer be on board for this project because this album pretty much does what it says on the tin. It’s The Cribs’ poppiest and at times catchiest effort to date and they do well in taking influence from bands such as Weezer to create some great power pop. Lyrically there isn’t too much in terms of wit like Weezer but melodically and stylistically they do have some decent throwback tunes. ‘Different Angle’ and ‘Summer Chances’ enhance absolutely killer anthemic vocal melodies over the top of some decent guitar work. This is where they truly shine as a band on this record; in making songs that could be about anything in the world (in this case girls mostly) yet because they’re delivered so passionately it doesn’t matter. The Jarmon brothers both have such distinctive vocals, that anything they touch becomes charismatic.
In terms the actual instrumentals on this album, it does feel like they sometimes leave all of work down to the vocals to catch the attention. Most of the instrumentals on here aren’t particularly memorable but more are instead a groundwork for the vocal melodies. This can be both beneficial and detrimental. Because it doesn’t necessarily mean it sounds like they’ve been lazy – the track ‘An Ivory Hand’, the instrumental coincides with the vocals fantastically with the buzzing guitar line that calls back to ‘Pinkerton’ era Weezer – but at the same time none of the instrumentals coincide with the vocals in a way like ‘Say It Ain’t So’ would have in Weezer’s back catalogue. Some heavy power chords really can go a long way.
There’s also the problem of when The Cribs attempt to vary from the formula of pop into other areas and do a botch-job. The song ‘Simple Story’ tries to enhance old Springsteen, but unfortunately sticks out in the tracklist like a sore thumb. The unenergetic vocal delivery and the reverb drenched guitars make for an unenjoyable listen as it is, it’s made worse by the fact it feels completely useless track in the listing. The song that follows it, ‘City Storms’ is a needed blast of energy to follow but once again pales in comparison to others on here.
Although there definitely some weak spots, ‘For All My Sisters’ is The Cribs most poppy and accessible record to date. At this point it feels good to hear a band that sound like they’re making the music they genuinely would like to hear and doing a decent job of it. You get the impression that this band don’t give a toss if they make it big or even get the respect for their music they deserve. The band is just floating by, doing what they love. Which means no matter what they do, a new record from them will probably always be enjoyable.
Best Tracks: Different Angle, Summer Chances, Mr Wrong