The Cribs - For All My Sisters

by Jim Cunnar Rating:9.5 Release Date:2015-03-23

For All My Sisters is the sixth long player from Wakefield, West Yorkshire offspring The Cribs, released on their new label Sonic Blew/Sony Red, and the first since 2012's In the Belly of the Brazen Bull. The Brothers Jarman - Gary, Ryan and Ross - have spent the last 10-plus years crafting hook-laden gems, bringing in an occasional high-powered assist to push their sound onward and upward.

In 2009, it was Johnny Marr, who joined the trio for Ignore the Ignorant. On this go-around, they enlisted producer Ric Ocasek (of Weezer and Cars fame) to push the envelope. The results are nothing short of spectacular.  

For All My Sisters is an album that is meant to be played loudly, preferably on a boombox with sand between your toes. Opener 'Finally Free' is classic Cribs, with Ryan's lilting guitar arpeggios and vocal supported by Gary's driving baseline and Ross' underrated kit-work. 'Burning for No One', the first single, and 'City Storms' are jangly power-pop beauties, paying homage as much to early Cribs material as Ryan's self-proclaimed 'axe bro' Marr.  

'Pacific Time' is big and anthemic - Ryan belts out the lyrics with such power, you can't help but raise your bottle high above your head and sing along. The album concludes with 'Pink Snow', a seven-plus minute, distorted assault that pulls and pushes the senses, much like 2009's 'City of Bugs'. 'Pink Snow' is The Cribs at their best - a band stretching a sonic idea past its comfort zone into something epic.

Ocasek's production is sublime on this album. He brings Ryan and Gary's voices to the forefront and lets them shine, more so than on any other Cribs album. The other Ocasek signature on FAMS is his use of the vocal harmonies, with 'Pacific Time' being a perfect example. These brotherly harmonies have always been the secret sauce of this band, and it's great to see a master like Ocasek use them so expertly. 

Over their career, The Cribs have managed to maintain their garage power-pop sound without being stagnant or repetitive. They accomplished this by collaborating with rock royalty, choosing artists who could push them creatively without squelching their vibe. On Ignore the Ignorant, Marr helped the brothers expand their songwriting skills beyond what was comfortable.  On For All My Sisters, Ocasek unabashedly embraces and highlights the band's strengths to help craft their best album yet.  

It's obvious the Jarman boys knew exactly what they were doing when they brought first Marr and now Ocasek on their journey. They needed guidance more than influence, and it has handsomely paid off. The Cribs and their lo-fi, approachable, garage-rock sound have grown up. They are now fully ready for the arenas they were always destined to play. 

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