Oasis in their ever increasingly tired out search for publicity to flog their tawdry wares have recently been having a pop at any band that doesn't fall into their very narrow remit of what constitutes Rock n Roll, i.e. overtly hairy men playing stolen riffs that would make many a pub musician across the land blush with shame. The Cribs felt the weedy force of monobrow N's vitriol the other day, and as ever his critical arrow was about as straight as a u-bend and quickly came back to lodge itself firmly in his arse: The Cribs gate crashed the top 40 with all the finesse of Alan "Sniffer" Clarke arriving in the penalty box.
"Hey Scenesters!" a previous single, opens their second LP and it encapsulates perfectly their talent for a hooky melody and a cutting lyric: here it's a broadside at musical elitists. "I'm Alright Me" bounces along with aplomb and is again catchy as hell and at times sounds a bit like The Wedding Present, their fellow Leeds residents from a few years back. "Martell" is concise, energy filled, catchy and to the point, everything that well crafted pop should be. It also showcases their penchant for "whoa ah, oh" and a "la, la la" backing vocal they crop up a number of times across the LP and conjure up visions of The Kinks. In fact it's this very English band that they resemble most at times, albeit one with a Northern rather than a Southern sensibility.
The raucous energy of the current single "Mirror Kisses" follows in fine style and should propel them out of the Indie ghetto and "We Can No Longer Cheat You" continues to charm with its rough and ready approach to song writing.
"It Was Only Love" sounds like Ragtime Indie if it existed sung with a heavy Northern drawl that conjures up the ghost of George Formby of all people. The title track is a stab at marring a Northern Soul bass line with Indie stylings, it's not altogether successful, as its slightly lacking in the chorus department.
Elsewhere "Hello? Oh..." - kind of Oasis like when they briefly had a good idea, "The Wrong Way to Be" - anthemic rowdy sing-a-long chorus and "Haunted" - acoustic noodling, casts the band in light that makes them pretty much impossible to dislike, as each oozes a crafty charisma that'll have you smiling with delight.
The best is saved for last though with "Things Aren't Going To Change": it's an unrestrained clattering shot of rowdy joy that happily gets into a rhythm and saunters about like a New Orleans funeral on a sweltering day, it should be the next single.
The magic of this record lies around its rough edges and its boisterous centre, it seems to be constantly on the point of collapse and is rather like being trapped in a particularly ramshackle Northern pub after closing time, where they're determined to give you a good time whether you like it or not. There is also an anger at its core which is lacking in many of their peers and shows a band wanting to do things on their own terms and not be dictated to by others, the whims of fashion or leached on by the Corporate Vampires that have sucked the blood out of many a young band. That's a noble idea to rally behind and makes The Cribs a band you can believe in at a time when so many bands sell out the minute a bag of coins is thrown their way.