The Cribs: Ignore the Ignorant | CD review


Gary Jarman, described as "the most political" of the three Cribs brothers, would like to make it clear his band have not made a political album. "It has been reported that our new record title is some kind of 'political statement'," he wrote on his MySpace, contradicting Ryan Jarman, who had said Ignore the Ignorant was titled after the BNP wins in June's European elections. "Just not true," continued Gary. "The title was conceived ages ago. It is an album with personal subject matter. NOT A POLITICAL RECORD!!!"

It's a contrary state of affairs, all right – but then contrary states of affairs rather seem to be the Cribs' factory setting. Even as they became NME favourites with 2005's The New Fellas, there was a disconnection between the acts they said they admired (90s US oddballs such as Bobby Conn, Trumans Water) and the music they made (Noughties garage rock – the Libertines, the Strokes).

Lyrically, too, they rallied against the trendies who should have been their early adopters. "Take drugs, don't eat, have contempt for those you meet," sniffed I'm Alright Me. The Cribs campaigned for a kind of "real indie", the antithesis of Kaiser Chiefs' polished na-na-na-ing. Promoting 2007's excellent Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever, Ryan was even grumbling about "chart-topping" indie from Glastonbury's stage – odd, given the album was produced by Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos. "The biggest cult band in the UK," the Cribs were called, and they seemed happy about it.

Given this, having Johnny Marr join after meeting Gary at a vegetarian barbecue – at 45, and seemingly age-impervious, surely not the "Britrock grandad" one newspaper recently called him – hasn't meant a shiny new sound. Underproduced by Nick Cave producer Nick Launay, results are less the Smiths' heroic jangle than something from the muddier end of John Peel's Festive 50 circa 1987. Fans of "real indie" will be thrilled.

Opener We Were Aborted rhymes "mid-shelf masturbation" with "smear on half the nation", and is a song about Nuts magazine. Neither Gary nor Ryan are what you'd call melodic singers, but the former's aching delivery of Last Year's Snow and Emasculate Me suit their subject – male ennui. Nothing – "I won't dance round no maypole"! – and closing waltz Stick To Yr Guns return to themes of not selling out. Not the expected "big" record; the Cribs' position as the UK's biggest cult (NOT POLITICAL!!!) band remains uncompromised.


Johnny Davis

The GuardianTramp

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