Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The Cribs - Our Bovine Public

Conceptually The Cribs are something of a contradiction. One minute they're declaring war on the commercialisation of Indie, the next playing at the V Festival. A band that, for all their championing of labels like K Records and Kill Rock Stars are far more likely to occupy shelf space between Babyshambles and Dirty Pretty Things CD’s than behind obscure US punk 7 inches. Allegedly opposed to laddish Rock n Roll clich├ęs, they’re still best known for guitarist Ryan Jarmans drunken dive (onto a nearby table) at the NME Awards. The tension between the rhetoric and the reality is undeniable. Our Bovine Public then is The Cribs attempt to set the record straight; to redraw the line between what they stand for and what they are against.

Attack is often the best form of defence: Within 13 seconds of the opening note they’ve spat out the first verse and hit the chorus running. The production might be cleaner than before, but it’s done little to temper their vitriol. Indeed, it’s the sheer bloody minded righteousness of Our Bovine Public that makes The Cribs case for the defence so convincing.
Naturally, there’s nothing adventurous in the format. This is the same verse/chorus punk rock we've heard a million times before, served up with the bands customary serrated guitar lines, pounding rhythms and bellowed choruses. It’s just The Cribs do this sort of thing so much better than everyone else, which is most likely the cause their ideological quandary; songs this catchy inevitably tap into a consciousness far beyond their idealised world of fanzines and obscure Punk labels. All the Jarman brothers can do is ride the wave as best they can.
Fittingly the track climaxes with the pay off 'I’ll never regret not one thing I've done, but you would never exist without us...so maybe I do', a lambaste at the bands who’ve appropriated their sound but none of their ethics.
Who knows, if they’re that bothered maybe the next album should be the bands ‘In Utero’ or ‘Metal Machine Music’, a wilful self sacrifice to disassociate themselves from their legacy of The Pigeon Detectives et al. It would, afterall, be the 'punk' thing to do. Until then let’s just enjoy The Cribs for what they are: a band with a deft hand for crafting raucous indie-pop anthems, of which this is one of their finest.

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