For All My Sisters Review

artist: The Cribs date: 04/02/2015 category: compact discs
The Cribs: For All My Sisters
Released: Mar 23, 2015
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Label: Sonic Blew, Sony RED UK
Number Of Tracks: 12
The Cribs' sixth album, "For All My Sisters," is a decent addendum of their newly-gestating Britpop side.
 Sound: 7
 Lyrics: 7
 Overall Impression: 6
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overall: 6.7
For All My Sisters Featured review by: UG Team, on april 02, 2015
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Sprouting up around the same time as the other post-punk revival indie rock bands, The Cribs didn't emerge from the gate sprinting to the front like their peers. But while they trailed behind the more successful likes of The Strokes and The White Stripes, as well as being eclipsed by their fellow countrymen Arctic Monkeys, they may have very well preferred rocking the grimy basement clubs rather than mainstages. As they tended their raucous garage rock sound without losing its spirit, their popularity would steadily grow, and would lead to an unexpected breakthrough opportunity - adding The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr to the band. 

Though Marr wouldn't stick around for good, the result of his involvement with the band would be their fourth album, "Ignore the Ignorant," which, as expected, had Marr guiding the band into the waters of Britpop to much avail. This marked a noticeable transition in the band's songwriting, and even after Marr left The Cribs to properly start his solo career, the penchant for melodic and catchier guitar melodies still lives on. They continued this in their first post-Marr album, "In the Belly of the Brazen Bull," which utilized the iconic Steve Albini to help them thread the needle of their gritty indie rock roots and newfound melodic Britpop endeavors; an effort that was pretty successful.

Now, with The Cribs' sixth album, "For All My Sisters," they strive to continue that blend that combines the best of both worlds - but with the band working with Ric Ocasek (frontman of The Cars and record producer, most notably for Weezer's "Blue Album" and "Green Album") on this album, Ocasek provides his own spin on the band's sound rather than trying to mimic what Albini did with them in the band's previous album. The most noticeable, and new for The Cribs, is a classic Weezer sound, which is most uncannily emulated in "An Ivory Hand," but can also be detected in the overdriven guitar leads in "Mr. Wrong" and "Summer of Chances."

Other than that, the output on "For All My Sisters" continues to play strongly into the Britpop side of The Cribs, and while some of the band's inherent grit is still intact, it's more a passive quality, rather than being strongly channeled like it was in "In the Belly of the Brazen Bull." Continuing to keep the spotlight on the guitar melodies, the hooky riffs in "Finally Free," "Different Angle," "City Storms" and "Diamond Girl" reprise the focus of "Ignore the Ignorant"; but with the funky chord progression of "Burning for No One" sounding familiar (unwittingly or otherwise) to that of Marr's solo track "Easy Money," The Cribs may need to ease up on the same mentality as their former mentor. Only in a few cases do The Cribs throw back to the salad days when they were first starting out, as heard in the dingy rockers "Mr. Wrong" and "Spring on Broadway"; the rough minimal ballad of "Simple Story" also plays on the band's lo-fi side, but ends up being a pothole in the road of the album's playful guitar-work. However, they do hit the downtempo bullseye in the ending track "Pink Snow," where the verses of low, morose guitars and facsimile Casablancas vocal style are paired with faster, poppier sections that wield strong and resonant guitar licks; a nice weaving of the band's old sound and new. // 7

Lyrics: With their lyrics, The Cribs have gradually inched away from their go-to of sneering at the music world's expectations - both from the industry and from listeners - and into more earnest and revealing territory. And as "In the Belly of the Brazen Bull" contained some emotional turmoil that alluded to guitarist Ryan Jarman's recent breakup with Kate Nash, "For All My Sisters" is by and large inspired by that breakup (if not others, as well). Chronicling the lengthy and flighty process of grieving over lost romance, lyrics go from mournful memories of better times (like "still dream of your house in April" in "Finally Free,"), ambivalent obsession (like "dancing on the screen, I still see you... embarrassed though I am, I'll still watch you through my hands" in "Burning for No One"), and lament for a reset on things (like "find me in the city/where no one knows my name/we can pick up where we left off" in "Diamond Girl"). Though the linearity of this emotional process on the album isn't totally concrete, closure is definitively made in the closing track of "Pink Snow" ("you're better on your own"). // 7

Overall Impression: While there are no heavily-protruding flaws with "For All My Sisters," the album doesn't emit an aura that's in any way extraordinary. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment that could be identified with the album is that The Cribs, sans Marr, were able to exercise their Britpop side and write an album nearly as good as "Ignore the Ignorant" (keyword: nearly). Whether or not that was the intended goal, "For All My Sisters" generally feels like an addendum of "Ignore the Ignorant," and while the consistency in quality isn't an issue, the lack of growth that counterweights it makes the album's output average in the grand scheme of things. // 6

- Sam Mendez (c) 2015

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