Friday, December 25, 2020

Pop/Punk Review: The Cribs - Night Network

Score: 77/100 
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Genre: Pop/Punk
Similar Artists: Strokes, The Jam

After years of the label litigation, the crafty British indie-rockers have returned with a solid blend of soaring hooks and captivating harmonies. At Dave Grohl's behest, the Jarman brothers, Gary, Ryan, and Ross retreated to Grohl's Los Angeles studio to record Night Network. What feels like a new chapter for The Cribs, this release harks back to their signature 'Beach Boys meets The Strokes' sound with a bit of Motown thrown in for good measure. 

The tone is a unique blend of pop, punk, and harmony. Night Network starts with the alluring "Goodbye," which entraps the listener into a false sense of pop security before shifting into a consciousness-altering garage band fuzz solo at the 1:45 mark, which is both mesmerizing and enthralling. In a way, the album raises the bar with this gem and tries hard to reach its heights in the remainder of the tracks.  

"Running into You" feels like a throwback to the band's early 2000's origins with the constant and hooky chorus; it is apparently targeted as the hit song. More original and quintessential are songs like "Weather Speaks your Name" and "Siren Sing-Along." The latter's Motown stylings are mainly lifted from Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to be with you." Sonic Youth's Lee Renaldo joins the fray on the adventurous "You Don't Know Who I Am," with backing vocals distorted guitar overdubs. 

Lyrically, the Cribs don't dive as deeply into the poetic realm as they have done in the past. One exception comes from the clever aforementioned "Weather Speaks your Name."

Sometimes yeah, the weather speaks your name/Like a childhood moment that felt the same/Keep wishing for an ever shorter day/I'd leave you alone, but you'd be lost in another age.

All in all, This is a tight and targeted release by an underrated band. The Cribs pull influences from many genres and stylings to produce a uniquely modern, elegant sound. They appear to have reestablished their footing as a force to be reckoned with.  

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen

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