Music

The Cribs: Ignore the Ignorant

Photo: Ben Smith

Ignore the Ignorant might be a technically better album than earlier Cribs efforts, but it’s a hell of lot less fun.


The Cribs
Label: Wichita
Title: Ignore the Ignorant
US release date: 2009-11-10
UK release date: 2009-09-07
Label Website
Artist Website

Opening your album with a track called “We Were Aborted”? It’s the Cribs all right, calling back to their glory days of blood and gore, backs split open on NME champagne glasses or stomachs scratched up in the middle of a furious set.

But once you get down to the music, Ignore the Ignorant isn’t exactly juvenile. It sounds positively middle-aged. True, there was always more to the West Yorkshire trio than anyone gave them credit for. Churning out absolutely brilliant pop tunes at a rate to make Guided by Voices blush, the Cribs never had much respect for the scene that made them, and that was always one of their strengths. Anyone who could write the furious pop anti-anthem “Hey Scenesters” and come off as cooler than any of the bands they maligned had to have their wits about them.

So maybe this newfound maturity is due to the illustrious influence of one Johnny Marr, still serving his time as an honorary Jarman brother (hopefully steering clear of the blood and guts business). Marr adds a dose of respectability to the often-immature Jarman brothers, without a doubt.

But oh, how it hurts to say this -- maybe the presence of Mr. Marr was not the right path for these scrappy young things. Not to impugn his character: Marr remains one of the coolest and most likeable people in rock, escaping the Smiths’ breakdown with style and wit, but (sadly) not much to offer musically. It’s the most likely reason for the oddly disjointed nature of this album: lyrics as (or more) brutal than ever, but a surprisingly tedious sound to back them up. Listen to the Smithsian jangle on “We Share the Same Skies", or the '80s flair on “City of Bugs". While the Cribs' harsh, braying, inimitable vocals remain the same, their once defiantly distinct music now just sounds dulled.

But maybe Marr isn’t entirely to blame. After all, it’s four albums in for the boys, and with each album their sound has grown a little more mature. The difference is that The New Fellas and the impossibly brilliant Men’s Needs matched musical maturity with vigor, life, and spirit. Ignore the Ignorant by contrast, is a dirge to a dying sound -- if the Jarman brothers want to return guitar-rock to the prominence it had when they first stormed the scene, this isn’t the way to go about it. Ignore the Ignorant might be a technically better album than those earlier efforts, but it’s a hell of lot less fun.

It’s simplistic to say, on this album in particular, that they’ve matured, and maybe they haven’t, deep down. But pop isn’t a deep business, and it’s all in how it sounds. And on the first listen, Ignore the Ignorant sounds like a revelation -- they’re all grown up now. But on repeated spins, the album becomes the most terrible of things: forgettable. There are some stronger numbers, particularly the lively “Cheat on Me", but the majority are simply average. “Victim of Mass Production” could be half a dozen other tracks on the album, while the melodic rhythm of “Emasculate Me” and the smooth hook of “Hari Kari” have more energy in their titles than in a single note of music. By its title track, Ignore the Ignorant has basically worn out its welcome. It’s an okay album, not terrible by a long shot, but it’s not really worth the space on your iPod, either. So thanks for playing, Mr. Marr, but maybe it’s time for the Jarman trio to get back to their roots.

“Here’s one for all the cynics, then”, the boys sing on “Last Year’s Snow". But the Cribs have never been a cynical band; they’ve been mad, bad, and dangerous to know, they’ve been rude and crude and they’ve seen their fair share of punch-ups. But with their earlier albums, you always got the sense that they really believed in what they were creating. The scene might be cheap, but the Cribs wouldn’t just sit back and take it -- they’d write their rock numbers and do the best they could. Now, when we need them the most, they make us ask -- is this the best they could do?

6


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Music

The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Music

Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.

Music

Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.

Television

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.

Music

Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.

Music

Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.

Books

'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.

Film

'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.

Music

Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.

Music

DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.

Music

JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.

Music

​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.

Music

Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times

Music

Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.

Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.