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The Cribs

By: Peter Gaston

Americans have a thing or two to learn about calming down and getting glib. While the Strokes may have crafted some of the decade’s most sublime and affable guitar-based pop ditties, there’s always something stuck up and forced about them, something innately American that belies their slacker poses. Maybe that’s why tunes crafted by our friends across the pond — whether by the Beatles, the Who, Queen, Billy Idol, or Blur — so effortlessly maintain swagger and relevance long after they’ve been slapped with a Super Saver label or covered by some studio generated track singer.

Yorkshire’s all-brother trio the Cribs have made that next great British record with The New Fellas, their second LP. At first, it’s an aural equivalent to a Twinkie: ready-to-eat and just a few wrapper fidgets away from your belly. And, like that pale yellow cake-like treat, this record’s shelf life seems absolutely limitless. Try to get through two spins of “Martell” without singing the whoa-ah-oh-oh choral hook. Elsewhere, the sugary, major lifts of fourth track “Mirror Kissers” will undoubtedly force some listeners into taking the Twinkie defense (Google “Harvey Milk” if you want a good read and explanation of said defense).

But great pop songs are plentiful in the world — even Kelly Clarkson’s got one. The Cribs raise the bar with witty sarcasm — lampooning overly self-conscious punk rock denizens and late night tokers — and surprisingly charming detours into softer sounds, like when they bust out an accordion and keys on the Tom Waits-meets-Randy Newman shuffle of “It Was Only Love.” But the upbeat anthems like “Mirror Kissers,” “Hey Scenesters,” and the title track are on the express train to perpetual appeal, and our kids will probably be adding them to playlists in between James’ “Laid” and Pulp’s “Common People” while cruising the skies in flying cars.

The Cribs played some U.S. dates this summer, and are currently scheduled for shows in the U.K. and Europe this fall. Take our word for it: You won’t leave a Cribs show wondering if bands still bleed for rock’n’roll. The New Fellas hits U.S. shelves August 23.

Link: The Cribs’ official site

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