December 2012, Spindle Magazine Issue 6

If there’s one thing that becomes immediately obvious while watching The Cribs play to a packed out crowd in Brighton tonight, it’s that the departure of Johnny Marr from the band has done nothing to diminish their sheer, rabble-rousing force. If anything, they’re stronger than ever returning to their original set up of three-man band. “One thing I would say is I definitely don’t see us looking to take on another member again. I think we’ve done that now.” Ryan Jarman explains before the show. “Even during the last album campaign, towards the end I was actually really wanting to go back to the three of us, ‘cause it’s more simple. Especially with me being the guitar player- the only guitar player- it was much more rewarding, ‘cause I don’t have to consider anyone else while I’m playing. So artistically it’s more satisfying for us being a three piece.”

2012 sees the brothers Jarman take to the road once again, following their first stint back in the studio since Marr left, touring on the back of the release of their fifth album, In The BellyOf The Brazen Bull. “This record is also so much more representative of our band than what the last one is and you’re always judged on what your last record is, always, so I want to get this one out to refresh how people view us.”

It sees the band make a return to the original ethos of the band in more ways than just keeping the line-up in the family. “The last one took too long… This one was all done live and we made sure it was all three of using the same room and we just recorded everything completely live. There was no down time. The stuff we did with Steve Albini, we did four songs in three days and that was completely mixed. That’s the way it should be- an element of urgency in the studio.” The immediacy of the recording process translates to the album, which is filled with those same gloriously punchy pop hooks that they’re known for, which spark the urgent need to throw yourself freewheeling into the midst of the mass. Or, as in tonight’s crowd’s case, gleefully air punching and crowd-surfing- not always a winning combination, folks.

“When it comes to the sound of the record, I like the fact that it sounds more stripped back. When you’ve just got one guitar, bass and drums there’s a lotof space on the record, it feels like you’ve got a lot of room to breathe. I like that.”

The band aren’t averse to more future collaborations per se, mind, as Ross points out. “We never really plan do we… It just happens. It’s a small world and everyone seems to know everyone.”

There are some reliable constants, though and one of them is that, ten years and five albums in, The Cribs maintain their status as criminally underrated outsiders as much as ever. Not that this is something that Ryan could give a tiny rat’s arse about of course. “Even when guitar music was in fashion, we were out of fashion…. The mainstream has never ever had any appeal to me and I never listen to any music that exists in it. It just doesn’t excite us.”

And with a doggedly staunch following as the band has, who can blame him?

At any rate, 2012 marks the beginning of a stonking return to form with a corker of a new album that’s impossible to dismiss. Unless you’re in the mainstream, of course, in which case you’re likely to remain wilfully indifferent.