For much over a decade, The Cribs have firmly made an impact in the music industry that they so regularly distance themselves from. 24/7 Rockstar Shit, their latest unexpected album release, has proved to be a personal record; not shying away from heavy instrumentals, personal lyrics and definitely not trying to please their critics.
The Wakefield band released news of the new album with their first single In Your Palace. Showing off their desired punk direction but also keeping align with the classic Cribs sound, frontman Ryan Jarman describes this as the ‘pop-iest song on the album’. A new direction for their music seemed to be needed by the band, you could see in their 2017 interviews for the Men’s Needs… tour that they grew tired of the state of the current industry or perhaps expectations pushed upon themselves. In Your Palace served as a strong start, a reminiscent track of their first album thrown together with a B-side from For All My Sisters.
Year of Hate was the next single to be released, a heavy track unlike anything they’ve released before. The Jarman’s have always been vocal in their desire to release a record that resembles heavy rock and this is their debut into the genre. Vivid lyricism over a grunge-like bass riff serves a treat and set the tone for an album fans expected to be considerably heavier than their previous albums. 24/7 Rockstar Shit has been met by a bit of criticism in the press but you can almost sense the Jarman’s loving and expecting this throughout the record. The name alone shows they aren’t pining for chart success but instead are wanting to shake it up, showcase their attitude in true punk style. A huge attraction to the band for many is their unique attitude, style and their blatant love for what they do, so quickly to remind you their music isn’t for the critics it is for the fans!
The highlight of the 4 singles off this album comes in the form of What Have You Done for Me? The closest of the singles to encapsulate The Cribs energy and sound, a sure staple of future setlists. As the band does best, they mix rock instrumentals with a pop melody sung in a thick regional accent. One of the most recognisable features of the band over the years has been Ryan and Gary Jarman singing in their distinguishable Wakefield accents and 24/7 Rockstar Shit rubs your face in this. It can only be more obvious surely if they chanted ‘West Yorkshire’ repeatedly over a 90’s American grunge guitar solo. I’m expecting this to be a B-side, coupled with other songs like ‘FOR THE FANS!’ and ‘We Don’t Abide by The Industries Rules, Yano?’
The Cribs’ indestructible chemistry is stronger than ever. Partisan and Dendrophobia are some of the best examples of their fluidity and rousing live playing ability. You can get a sense of these tracks spawning from a studio jamming session and the way the three brothers can read each other and convey an interconnected playing style, it wouldn’t surprise me if half their albums are made in this way. What always impresses me about a Cribs record is the shear talent of guitarist Ryan Jarman. Johnny Marr has been cited as one of his biggest supporters, when he worked with the band he was an ever-present champion of his ability. Sticks Not Twigs is a more simple and acoustic track, it’s not over-produced, something the Jarman’s found important when considering the album. The perfect blend of their Ignore the Ignorant-era sound with The New Fellas, it will be an overlooked track but should be at the forefront of any conversation about the album. This record has a few tracks that will be overlooked, it doesn’t grab your attention straight away and takes a few listens through for you to realise the potential it has.
As a whole, the album is impressive for a number of reasons. It’s their most raw and honest sounding record, produced by Steve Albini and proclaimed by the band profusely to be made for, well, er, you know by now, the fans. It’s for the fans in respect that it includes songs like Give Good Time and Rainbow Ridge that will become cult songs to be played live. It’s a record not made to please their critics, if that wasn’t clear already. In the modern industry, this is exactly what we need, successful bands who are openly critical of the status quo, bands who make music because of the reason they formed a band- for their love of it. The current indie and rock genre is so bland and awash with replicas of your dads beloved vinyl’s that it is refreshing when there exists a glimmer of originality and opposition. 24/7 Rockstar Shit; an effort that will only score mid-range to the casual listener but be regarded as one of their most impressive works by the loyal listener.
Words by Jack Wager.