Album review: The Belly of the Brazen Bull – Cribs

On their fifth studio album, Wakefield’s The Cribs have gone back to basics. The brothers Jarman, reduced to a trio once more after the departure of Johnny Marr, have done away with the shiny production and restrained pop songs that characterised their last album, Ignore the Ignorant, to produce a collection of more abrasive and raw tunes that usher in the summer with a sledgehammer blow to the eardrum. This is not to say that there aren’t any catchy numbers to be found on the album however; the Cribs know how to pen a good hook, a fact attributed to the bands childhood obsession with the Bee Gees.

This is no less apparent than on the albums first single ‘Come on and be a no-one’, a song that begins with a vivacity similar to that of Nirvana’s ‘Drain You’. Late eighties and early nineties American alternative music is a thread that runs throughout the album, helped by the presence of former Pixies and Nirvana producer Steve Albini. ‘Chi-town’ and ‘Arena Rock Encore With Full Cast,’ with their stampeding drums and fuzz-drenched guitars, hark back to the days of flannel and five o’clock shadows, but let us not be too hasty to apply the dreaded g-word to the whole album. As opposed to a band like Yuck, The Cribs manage to borrow the best elements from the early nineties and appropriate them without sounding too hackneyed or conceited and manage to retain the spirit that so endeared them to their fans, something that critics thought was dented by the inclusion of Marr on their last album.

This album is one for the fans, managing to sound heavy but pop-y, grungey but not too angsty. This is without doubt the sound of summer, if you plan on spending your summer in a leather jacket jumping into things. The Cribs are back, now let’s go break stuff.

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