Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Cribs - "Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever" (LP Review)

"Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever" is the third LP from The Cribs. This LP came out after I had fallen in love with their first two LPs. I have to confess I was initially very disappointed with this LP. The song writing is largely just as good as the first two (although not as uniformly good -- the best songs are as good as the best songs on the other LPs, but I find myself skipping more songs on this one).

If there is a villain in this story, I'll go with the producer Alex Kapranos (of Franz Ferdinand). The sound on this LP is another entry in the "loudness war" (thanks to Johan for pointing this out). The fuzzy, garage sound is gone and in its place is a sound that is just a bit too polished and bright. If I had heard this LP first, I probably would have no complaints. But as it stands, it is simply not as good as the others. But in fairness, the first two established a nearly impossibly high standard to maintain.

Lyrically, the targets have not changed (e.g., "You'd never exist if you wasn't generic", "fakes, liars, and stars of moving pictures / What's the difference? / Like all the parts that I'm not into / But I see in you"). The song "Be Safe" features a spoken word part by Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. It is a very good song, but it sounds just a bit too similar to Nada Surf's "Popular". My initial disappointment with it was that when you combine Lee Ranaldo with The Cribs, you shouldn't get a song that sounds similar to a novelty song that came out 11 years prior (just for the record, I do like the song).

A really strong LP, but I can't help but wonder what it would have sounded like if Edwyn Collins (producer of the "The New Fellas") had produced it instead of Kapranos. I eagerly await their fourth release (sometime in 2009?).

Standout tracks: Men's Needs, Our Bovine Public, Moving Pictures, Major's Titling Victory, Be Safe.

Skip 'em tracks: "Shoot the Poets" -- another LP-closing acoustic piece that doesn't really work for me. Although not really bad, I will sometimes find myself skipping "I'm a realist" and "Girls like mystery".

Final score: 9/10

2014-04-23: Bonus links: entire LP, a demo version of "Our Bovine Public" (which answers the "what would this sound like without Alex Kapranos?" question).  

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