From announcing the album out of the blue just three weeks before its release to initially only making seven-inch copies of single ‘Years of Hate’, everything about ’24-7 Rock Star Shit’ feels like its harking back to the simpler times of their eponymous first album.
While they enjoyed particular commercial success from ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs Whatever’ – with a 10-year anniversary tour demonstrated how well-regarded the album is among both diehard Cribs fans and the mainstream audience – the new album seems to have pulled away from the catchier melodies and cleaner guitar sounds and returned to the stripped-back sound the Wakefield three-piece seem most comfortable with.
Recorded in just five days and produced by Steve Albini (or engineered as he would rather put it) of the Pixies’ ‘Surfer Rosa’ or Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’ fame, the album has been stripped back resulting in a visceral and low-fi feel.
The opening songs ‘Give Good Time’ and ‘Year of Hate’ are two of the catchier tunes on the album, but the fuzzy, brash sound of Ryan Jarman’s guitar and screeching vocals from the normally silky Gary Jarman set the tone for a loud, unpolished yet energetic outing that die-hard fans of the band will happily come back to.
’24-7′ feels like an album that has come full circle to their early days and is more akin to older favourites like ‘The Wrong Way To Be’ or ‘Baby Don’t Sweat’. That’s not to say the album is regressive, but more that it takes the gradually heavier path from ‘The Belly of the Brazen Bull’ and ‘For All My Sisters’ even further, stripping back the melodies for a raw sound with passion.
It won’t be for everyone and those who found The Cribs through songs like ‘Men’s Needs’ and ‘Girls Like Mystery’ may not find what they are looking for. This is something it would appear the band are unapologetic for however, with the from ‘Dendrophobia’ “British radio has had a terrible effect on me” suggested The Cribs have no interest in filling their album with catchy hooks at the expense of their DIY values .
That’s not to say there aren’t any of those moments in the album however. The chorus ‘What Have You Done For Me’ has a classic Cribs ring to it while ‘Sticks Not Twigs’ is a tender acoustic effort we’ve arguably not seen since ‘Shoot the Poets.’ ‘Dead At The Wheel’ even offers something unlike what we’ve seen from the Cribs before with a mixture of melodic guitars and even hint of synth behind Ryan Jarman’s drowsy yet soft vocals. All these things come together as the song draws towards the end, making for one of the highlights of the album and a direction the band will hopefully explore further in the future.
The album doesn’t have any instant classics like some of their earlier works and doesn’t push any boundaries and will most likely only appeal to those who followed the band at their inception. While it doesn’t trend new ground musically or lyrically however, the willingness for The Cribs’ to stick to their guns and shirk the radio-friendly route should be commended and leads to a raw, refreshing record that still stands proudly against an already-impressive back catalogue.
‘24-7 Rock Star Shit’ is out now via Wichita Recordings. The albums full track-listing is as follows…
01. Give Good Time
02. Year of Hate
03. In Your Palace
05. What Have You Done For Me
06. Sticks Not Twigs
07. Rainbow Ridge
09. Dead At The Wheel
10. Broken Arrow