Album Review: The Cribs – 24-7 Rock Star Shit

Review from Ben Forrester

Despite this album only being announced two weeks ago, the hype for it has been building up for a number of years now. It all began when Wakefield’s finest The Cribs were making their fourth album in the states, back in 2011. During these sessions, they spent a couple of days with legendary engineer Steve Albini and thus the rumors of ‘the Punk record‘ were born. Although an Albini produced track did appear on the album they were working on, the Jarman brother’s still continued down the road of making big sparkling guitar pop records.

But it transpires that at the back end of last year, the trio headed back to Chicago and after just five days of drinking coffee and recording, came out with the highly anticipated Albini punk record! So yeah, the expectations are pretty high for this new LP and with critics and fans alike stating that this is their ‘death-or-glory game-changer‘, I’m pleased to report that on first listen alone, ‘24-7 Rock Star Shit‘ is definitely a game changing moment for The Cribs.

Although it harks back to the rough and ready approach of their first two records, there is certainly a sense of confidence and wisdom that runs beneath this record that could only come from a band that have been together for as long as they have. Their love for US punk and alt-rock is very apparent throughout and it’s the simplistic power-pop of tracks like ‘What Have You Done For Me?‘ and blistering opener ‘Give Good Time‘ that gives them such a timeless quality. Of course Steve Albini’s bare bones production is the perfect fit for these songs and not only drives home the sincerity of the performances, but also reinforces the tightness of this band of brothers.

There is no denying the pop sensibilities that the band bring here, with ‘In Your Palace‘ carrying one of their most anthemic choruses to date, while ‘Rainbow Ridge‘ has this Nirvana like pop vibe going on and it totally works! But at the same time, you have ‘Year Of Hate‘ and ‘Broken Arrow‘ that bring back a more snarling, heavier tone to proceedings. It’s good to hear them crank up the amps a bit more here; punk-rock definitely suits them.

The Cribs have always been great at making an album that has a beginning, middle and end and 24-7 Rock Star Shit isn’t just pure punk belters. With the acoustically driven prettiness of ‘Sticks Not Twigs‘ and the electronic-tinges of 5 minute epic ‘Dead At The Wheel‘, the band definitely try to go deeper structurally. And although these do sound a little out of context with the rest of the record at first, after a few listens you realise that their deliveries contribute well to the directness and honesty of the album.

I have a lot of time for every Cribs record but for me, 24-7 Rockstar Shit gets back to the fundamental idea of the band and reason I fell in love with them – three brothers belting out punked-up pop songs in a basement together. I’ve always loved the sheer energy and ferocity of the band live and this record perfectly captures the sheer euporia of going to a Cribs show. Back that with big tunes, fun riffs and plenty of sing-your-heart-out hooks and you’ve got yourself the best Cribs album since the seminal ‘Mens Needs, Womens Needs, Whatever. In Cribs fanboy language, that means it’s fucking great!

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