The Cribs: For All My Sisters

Photo: Pieter M. van Hattem

The Brothers Jarman maintain a taut, propulsive sound. There’s no let up at all, and even the more melodic entries maintain a considerable amount of swagger and sway.

The Cribs

For All My Sisters

Label: Arts & Crafts
US Release Date: 2015-03-24
UK Release Date: 2015-03-23

I don’t know about you, but I often wonder what spurs a musician’s attitude when the end result offers the impression they’re only obsessed with angst and insurgency. The Cribs create quite a racket, and while most of it is fairly convincing, there seems to be a lot of unsettled edginess underscoring it all. “It’s not easy, but it’s harder to just admit it,” they wail on the driving diatribe “Mr Wrong". “So we struggle through, but I don’t need this / Or the mess I’ve made that I don’t believe in…”

If that lyric is any indication, the Cribs may indeed have reason for recourse. Unfortunately, most of the songs on the British threesome’s sixth album are far more ambiguous, and any cause for consternation seems somewhat veiled. If this was a band of newcomers, they could be forgiven for sounding a bit muddled; after all, it takes time for a group to define their message and express their intent. However given the fact they’ve been around for more than a decade, it would appear they’ve had more than enough time to refine their formula. Likewise, having once had the benefit of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr within their ranks, you’d think he might have offered them lessons on how a band might express dissatisfaction. Playing with the morose Mr. Morrissey all those years ought to have taught him something.

Nevertheless, any lack of lyrical clarity deserves to be overlooked, given that the energy level is peaked throughout. The Brothers Jarman -- that’s older siblings Gary (bass, vocal, guitar) and Ryan (lead guitar, vocals), and younger brother Ross (drums, percussion) -- maintain a taut, propulsive sound, allowing songs such as “Finally Free", “Different Angle” and “City Storms” to pack a powerful wallop. There’s no let up at all, and even the more melodic entries -- “Diamond Girl” and “Pink Snow” in particular -- maintain a considerable amount of swagger and sway. While the didactic nature of these proceedings suggest they’re naturally inclined to take their music over the top, it’s only natural to believe that producer Ric Ocasek had some say here as well. It’s to his credit, in fact, that Ocasek didn’t attempt to rein in their more incorrigible instincts, giving them free rein and permission to merge their instincts and intensity.

Consequently, the Cribs offer the impression that they’re still not satisfied, and very well content to find an even balance between their aptitude and their attitude. Comparisons to Green Day and the Foo Fighters seem inevitable, owing to the fact that they don’t forsake accessibility for the sake of that unrepentant approach. Even the title bows to a softer side, although the sisters it alludes to are likely the kind inclined to party just as hearty as their boyfriends.

The major fault one might find with For All My Sisters lies in the fact that with so little let up, there’s little to distinguish one song from another. Oh well, they’re young enough to mature more as time goes on. for now, it’s enough to simply get into their groove.


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