Review Summary: The Cribs return with an outstanding indie album, full of pounding guitar riffs and catchy choruses that will be in your CD player for days.
The Cribs are a three piece indie rock band based in West Yorkshire, England. Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever is their third studio album and exudes the type of effortless class typical of bands such as The Libertines and The Smiths all the way through. The music itself has a distinctly ramshackle and underground sound, which suits the band perfectly. The vocals are part singing, part ranting, and the guitar work is top notch as the Jarman brothers deliver one of the best albums of the year (2007).
The Cribs are:
- Ryan Jarman: Lead guitar and lead vocals
- Gary Jarman: Bass guitar and backing vocals
- Ross Jarman: Drums
Now I could start this review off by stating my favorite tracks (‘Our Bovine Public’
, ‘I’m a Realist’
and ‘Be Safe’
) and then talking about them at length, but due to the fact that pretty much every track on this album is as strong as the rest, my favorite tracks are personal preference and nothing more. So instead I thought I would talk about the album itself, and the musical merits it has. The vocals are stalwart throughout the album; Ryan Jarman is on top form, his yelps and drones never feeling out of place as he rambles on about whatever he wants. Lyrically, this album is also a step up from previous releases, berating mainstream pop in the wonderful ‘Our Bovine Public’
with well crafted lines such as ‘You'd never exist if you wasn't generic’
. Indeed mainstream music isn’t the sole fixation of the lyrics, throughout the album The Cribs also find time to criticize so called ‘scenesters’ amongst panning most of the dour attitudes and trends in today’s music scene.
The guitar work and drumming on the majority of this album is also of a very high quality. The punchy drum rhythms from Ross take the music by the scruff of the neck and drive it onward, setting the tempo well. Likewise the bass riffs are very well though out and add to the overall experience that this record gives. Once again however it is Ryan who excels, his shrieking guitar riffs really taking tracks such as ‘Women’s Needs’
to the next level. The production is also vital to the sound of this album. Step forward Mr Franz Ferdinand himself Alex Kapranos, who polishes the tracks brilliantly, but at the same time keeps the shambolic nature of the band equally prominent.
Unfortunately the standard of music isn’t maintained to such a high quality as the album draws to a close. The songs slow down, and the vocals transform from the punky yelps and drones I mentioned earlier into a more monotonous style; and while none of the songs on the album are bad in any sense of the word, they do become a little bit dreary. Possibly the album would have benefited by ditching a track or two, especially ‘Ancient History’
which does nothing for the album except lengthen it by five minutes.
As I mentioned before, The Cribs music give off an aura similar to The Libertines and The Smiths, and we all remember what happened to these bands. Hopefully The Cribs will not end the way their spiritual predecessors did, and instead, provide more quality music for years to come. Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever is an excellent album, and if The Cribs can take this, and improve on it for their next release, they could well become the next poster boys of musical tabloids such as NME, although I'm sure the boys response to this will just be a sullen Whatever
- The frankly brilliant vocal style of Ryan Jarman
- The solid production, guitar work and drumming
- The witty lyrics
- Is far from original, and in places sounds like it belongs in a Libertines album
- The songs towards the end of the album don’t live up to the standards set by the rest of the album
Overall 84/100 = 4 Excellent