It’s hard to believe that The Cribs have now been in the music-making industry for over a decade. To put this in perspective, you have to remember that when they arrived on the scene, it was bands like The strokes and The Libertines shining bright; The Jarman brothers have not only lasted the long distance with them, where most have deteriorated or disappeared, but are still creating relevant music. This is a huge achievement, and the band only gets stronger with new album For All My Sisters.
Its clear from the start that the band are looking back to their beginnings with music they grew up to, straight away noticeable on opener Finally Free. Its 90s pop-grunge niceness and polished vocals sit lovingly on lengthy riffs, whilst Ryan sings his heart out as he always does. The trick is repeated again on An Ivory Hand, taking a tip from old school Weezer, with its guitary synthy sounds set against heavy fuzz and simple melody.
But its not all 90s loveliness: Different Angle keeps is beautifully basic, and throws into the mix perfect sounds and heartfelt lyrics with typical Cribs ease: ‘Across a crowded room I whisper something that only you can understand.’ Add on top of this more complex and musically diverse tracks such as Mr Wrong, with its lust for life and brutal punches, and then you’re onto a winner.
What keeps the band producing such quality is the way they progress but stick to their guns. Johnny Marr brought out the music in a different direction on album Ignore the Ignorant, Lee Ranaldo brought Be Safe to life with spoken word on Men’s needs, Women’s Needs Whatever, and bringing in Cars front man Ric Ocasek to produce this album has been another genius collaboration. Ric has brought a sense of romance and dutifulness to the record, using mostly their earlier sound to create something new. The band are looking to their past and enjoying what they see. Simple Stay is a prime example of this, showing off the usual story of love and regrets, but deeply filled with more honesty, and Ric casting a welcome shadow on the sound.
Although they are looking to their past, they use the skills they’ve learned throughout their entire career to create something special. Diamond Girl shows of the dexterity and skill in the song writing and guitar work, whereas Pink Snow tops of the record with 7 minutes of hypnotizing rises and falls, wrapped in a fuzzy and contained mess for a perfect end.
It’s hard to find fault with For All My Sisters. Evolution has kept them around, but basic, honest and great song writing is the main reason why they’re still here. The Cribs guaranteed seal of quality is continued with this record, and luckily for us the band are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.