Album Reviews: The Cribs by The CribsAt first listen, it’s kind of difficult to shake the idea that The Cribs are the English Strokes. That’s mostly because the sound is so familiarly downtown and so calculatedly street, not mention how incredibly catchy these songs are. One look at the leather-and-All-Stars Ramones allusion on the back cover of this disc will tell you that the Cribs are, like the Strokes, poseurs. Of course, that’s how many a fine English pop band starts out.
Whereas the Strokes feel like grown-ups, fully aware of their manipulation of a retro-chic marketing gimmick, The Cribs feel altogether more naive. The Cribs seem to be so in love with their references -- The Ramones, The Velvet Underground -- that they cannot help but to pay homage to these heroes in their music. And the band’s trump card, which finally distances The Cribs from The Strokes, is this album’s sunny, melodic tone. The snarls and struts of their New York prototypes are rendered here as smirks and recovered stumbles. The Cribs are having too much giddy fun to worry about being cooler than you.
With great pop hooks, a gritty and awkwardly adolescent demeanor (think early Donnas) and a fairly hip indie label behind them, it’s hard to imagine that The Cribs are not going to make an alternative splash in America. Along with Lemona, by LA’s Giant Drag, The Cribs' self-titled debut marks the first stages of a domestic American presence by Wichita Records (home to Bright Eyes and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs in the UK). Not a bad start at all. - Cory O'Malley
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