Label: Sonic Blew
Release Date: 20th November 2020
"The Jarman brothers’ signature tongue-in-cheek lyrics and infectious guitar lines return on this album – ‘Deep Infatuation’ could come straight out of 2007’s Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever."
The Cribs have long been Wakefield’s pride and joy, and their eighth album, Night Network, has cemented that position even more. After almost two years of hiatus and their first year without a live show since 2002, the band are back, rejuvenated and ready with a new masterclass in rock. Born from a much-needed nudge from legend Dave Grohl prompting the trio to return to music and not give in, Night Network is perhaps their most necessary album yet.
‘Goodbye’ introduces us to an unfamiliar version of The Cribs; leaning into surf-rock and some Beach Boys-esque harmonies, the track is an interesting one to open with, but in the context of this reviving album, makes perfect sense. It’s a goodbye to the past few years of struggle and turmoil (the band found themselves in what they describe as a “legal morass” after leaving their previous management), but it welcomes in a new era perfectly.
Straight out of their initial farewell, the band as we know and love them are back. The Jarman brothers’ signature tongue-in-cheek lyrics and infectious guitar lines return on this album – ‘Deep Infatuation’ could come straight out of 2007’s Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, objectively the trio’s best album.
‘Earl & Duke’ takes a different turn – a slower track, it’s a more pensive and retrospective version of the band. Night Network consistently sees The Cribs straying away from what is expected of them. Whilst on their previous few albums, this has been questionable, it now feels like they consistently pull it off.
‘Under the Bus Station Clock’ is another standout – the band are at their strongest when they stick to their roots. They made their name on melding together different genres of rock: from punk to indie, the band managed to dip into different pools and combine them to craft their distinctive sound. ‘Under the Bus Station Clock’ is a perfect example – it’s anthemic and nostalgic and a slice of what is quintessential Cribs.
A main selling point for the band has resoundingly been how well each of their albums transforms into a raucous, energised live show, and there’s no exception here: Night Network is primed for its eventual stage debut. Dave Grohl and his LA intervention have led to an album steeped in ambition and confidence, and it’s a side of The Cribs we’ve been waiting to see for a while. Retaining the bits of the band’s sound that got them to where they are but diving into new versions of themselves, Night Network isn’t just a good album. It’s an album that The Cribs needed to make – and let’s all be glad that they did.
Words by Neive McCarthy.
22nd November 2020.