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Since their self-titled debut in 2004, few bands have possessed The Cribs‘ blend of rogue spirit and instant likeability. Main vocalist Ryan Jarman knows how to coat his punky inflections with a layer of confident tunefulness like his brethren in Art Brut and The Rakes, and the group’s spiky guitars are never so sharp as to slice listeners’ ears. On November 10th (September 7th in the U.K.), The Cribs will release their fourth full-length, Ignore the Ignorant, and as “We Were Aborted” illustrates, the band has become increasingly comfortable with the practice of enriching their songs with a fuller production aesthetic.
From its opening strums, “We Were Aborted” offers a more closely curated take on their music. Guitars bounce back and forth with newfound mass, the feedback even seemingly modulated to stay in key. However, it’s easy to find The Cribs’ bleeding heart still panting beneath the patina of refined production. They aren’t a band that has ever needed to hide behind lower levels of fidelity: their hooks are gigantic enough to sideswipe an eighteen wheeler, and even if they weren’t, Jarman’s bravado would likely carry the band most of the way. When they lay into a line like “That’s what they’re here for / To make you feel important / Because you knew we were aborted,” it doesn’t matter that the lyric doesn’t really make sense–you’ll want to sing along regardless.
A valid knock on The Cribs is that (production tweaking aside) they haven’t really developed their sound much over the years, but when you can muster bluster like they do, there’s something to be said for sticking to what one does best. It’s worth noting that the songs on Ignore the Ignorant are the first to feature new full-time member Johnny Marr (yes, that Johnny Marr), who rather inconspicuously adds a new layer to the guitar work. “We Were Aborted” is the latest anthem from a band that knows how to crank them out and will leave their fans eagerly awaiting their fourth LP.