Produced by Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, this debut album from British sensation The Cribs, blasts perfect pop songs with provocative punk power. The melodies are brash and memorable, the hooks undeniable, and the lyrics spiced with intelligence and healthy cynicism.
About the Artist
The members of the Cribs--three brothers from Yorkshire, England--have seen their ascent from underground do-it-yourselfers to mainstream darlings correspond with the maturation and refinement of their music. On their third album, a major-label debut with one of rock's great titles, the trio wears a newly polished sound proudly, while not coming close to straddling the sell-out ledge. Ryan Jarman's magnetic lead vocals and skewering guitar interplay never let up, from the kick-off Jam-like "Our Bovine Public" through the charming folk number "Shoot the Poets," ever-accented by the band's penchant for 24-carat choruses, best exemplified on "Men's Needs" ("A man's needs are full of greed") and "My Life Flashed Before My Eyes" ("Well I'm alright, although I know you lied/I don't mind"). And look no further than "Be Safe" to gauge just how far the band has risen. A spoken-word cameo by Sonic Youth axeman Lee Ranaldo drives the nearly six-minute, mind-altering epic over the Jarmans' bass-driven requiem and "be safe" shout-outs. It's easily the best song on an album full of first-rate material, paving the way to a new direction for a band just realizing its budding capabilities. --Scott Holter