The Cribs The Cribs

[Wichita; 2004]

Styles: retro rock, pop rock, indie rock
Others: The Strokes, Kings Of Leon, Jet, The Dorkness

Being as they're on Weevil and Bumblebeez 81's label in the UK, I was kind of hoping for something more than another rock band; but, in the words of the Rolling Stones, you can't always get what you want. Ryan, Gary, and Ross Jarman, assembled under their childish moniker, work the old off-key, thinly produced, indie Rock band angle like a less melodical Hot Hot Heat or a nicer Mower; but the main obvious influence here is the Strokes or, to go back one further, Television. They piss out the same sort of simple drumming and baselines accompanied by a constantly strumming, higher pitched guitar so many other bands of the current age do with barely anything to separate them... almost exactly as you'd assume a three instead of five piece Strokes would sound. Ryan's guitar work really only steps out of the Fab mold and shines in its own right on "Another Number," where he plays up to a much tamer version of "Eight Miles High" [The Byrds] velocity before dissolving back into obscurity. For a first album, it's quite possibly better than the Strokes' second, which places it slightly less than average at best. The Cribs are the same oddly infecting, uninspired jangle pop Franz Ferdinand and other flavours of the week have produced on a constant basis over the past year because it's hot and it sells. You will forget you own their albums in six years.

Are they skilled? Sure. Obviously ripping off the Strokes? You bet! Can I tolerate their presence only because they're drastically less popular than any other band I've mentioned in this review so far? Probably... only time and the Billboard charts will tell. When The Cribs try to out rock British Sea Power, it's just too much but when they try to compose themselves and feign sensitivity, it sounds rather silly and totally unbelievable. Hence, The Cribs are at their best when they find a happy medium. All their worst traits really come out on "Third Outing," which craps a standard sensitive-"rock out"-sensitive verse-chorus-verse squarely in your headphones; but they do find equilibrium on occasion. I have heard worse this month and fans of the retro movement have another band to "discover" and annoy me with five times a day for a few weeks. Everybody kinda wins.

1. The Watch Trick
2. You Were Always The One
3. The Lights Went Out
4. You & I
5. Things You Should Be Knowing
6. Another Number
7. What About Me
8. Learning How To Fight
9. Tri'elle
10. Baby Don't Sweat
11. Direction
12. Third Outing