The Cribs - 24-7 Rock Star Shit

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2017-08-11

Steve Albini’s presence in the studio always seems to inspire bands to strip things down and produce something raw and honest. I remember all but losing hope for the Manic’s before they released the unexpectedly wonderful Journal for Plague Lovers. Equally, anyone with fond memories of discovering The Wedding Present’s Seamonsters, Pixies Surfer Rosa or Nirvana’s In Utero will know what all the fuss is about.

Albini’s recording credits throw down a theoretical gauntlet to all those that enter the studio. Can you make something as good as this? Can you create something your uncompromising, idealistic inner-teenager would appreciate?  24-7 Rock Star Shit is the sound of The Cribs, a band now a decade and a half into their career, accepting that challenge.

Clocking in at just over 36 minutes it’s the shorted LP the Jarman brothers have put their name to since 2005 breakthrough The New Fellas. There’s not an inch of fat or flab to be found within the albums ten tracks. This barebones approach certainly makes quite a contrast when compared with the relative pop-sheen of For all My Sisters or 2009’s ambitious Ignore the Ignorant. Recorded in just 5 days, there’s a real sense of exuberance and fun to be found here.

‘Give Good Time’ sets the tone, a brilliantly scuzzy slice of pop-punk that finds Gary hollering “got me feeling like I was 14”. The album continues apace with ‘Year of Hate’, a blistering and belligerent track that finds the brothers aligning “the cross hairs”. The song also manages to drop in a quick reference to the bands beloved Comet Gain and their LP Tigertown Pictures. This is the Cribs reconnecting with their youth and having a blast in the process.

The vocals throughout the album find the Jarman’s at their throat-shredding best while the production has managed to capture all the rawness of a full-throttle live performance. ‘In Your Palace’ starts with an uncharacteristically rock riff before sliding into a fuzzy yet catchy slice of grungy rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Dendrophobia’ is a full-on punk-via-Sonic Youth belter, a very kool thing indeed, while ‘What Have You Done for Me?’ is Ryan’s melodic and addictively catchy response to the critics.

‘Sticks not Twigs’ find’s the album shifting pace with a disarming acoustic number, complete with some particularly lovely Jarman harmonies. Despite the plentiful distortion on much of 24-7 Rock Star Shit you can still hear the bands love of simple, Weezer-esque melodies. Having lived with the album for a couple of weeks, I can tell you that these songs will become firmly lodged inside your head. ‘Rainbow Ridge’ is quite possibly the albums finest cut; a melodic and exhilarating ode to reunions, hometowns and carving your own path.

Next up, we get the brief punkified charge of ‘Partisan’ before the album shifts gear with the arrival of ‘Dead at the Wheel’. There’s really nothing else in the Cribs cannon quite like ‘Dead at the Wheel’, a lethargic and somewhat beautiful slice of melancholia. With our defences down the band wrap things up with the heroic gallop of ‘Broken Arrow’, an anthemic tune with a suitably huge chorus.

So, to be clear 24-7 Rock Star Shit is definitely not The Cribs answer to In Utero as some may have suggested. The musical reference points remain familiar (Comet Gain, The Thermals, Weezer) while the music feels fresh and reinvigorated. Ultimately this is The Cribs doing what they do best, defiant indie-punk with plenty of heart and soul.

 

 

 

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