Progress Report

Progress Report: The Cribs

NAME: The Cribs
PROGRESS REPORT: Wrapping up recording on their fourth album, Ignore The Ignorant (out 9/7), with new band member Johnny Marr. Recorded at producer Nick Launay’s home studio in Los Angeles.

Gary, Ryan, and Ross Jarman have worked with indie rock’s elder statesmen before: Scottish legend Edwyn Collins produced the Cribs’ second LP, and Sonic Youth’s Lee Renaldo performed a spoken-word track on their last record, 2007’s Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever. They’ve also worked with Suede’s Bernard Butler and Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos. But those collaborations have nothing on working with their newest member, Smiths/Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr. Adding in anyone with his own sound and reputation should have been tricky — the Cribs’ lineup has always been twins Gary and Ryan, along with younger brother Ross — but Ryan says the transition into a four piece was very easy. “It all comes together really organically. We just jam and treat him the same way we treat each other,” he says of their songwriting sessions. “None of us felt weird about telling each other what we did and didn’t like.”

Though the band just completed a few long weeks recording in LA (“all the bars close at 2:00 and we’re in the studio til 1:00 every night, so there was no point in going out”), they really wrote the album over the past year while on the road. Ryan says he and Johnny would sit down together to work on guitar parts separately from the rest of the band when they started working together in the fall. The biggest change? Switching to lead guitar. “But the thing that’s fortunate about it is that both our styles just happen to go together really well. We’re not off or anything at all, we just happen to play really good together anyway.”

Because many of the songs were written on the road, they’ll sound much like the did during their last tour, where Marr was introduced as a member. Other songs, like the intense, 10 minute long “City Of Bugs,” and “Save Your Secrets” haven’t been played live yet, but Ryan considers them a development of the compact, prickly Britpop on Men’s Needs. “It still sounds like you can hear Johnny and the Smiths influence on it too, so there’s that combination. The sound has just gotten a little more cinematic. It’s got a little more atmosphere to it. I put a few extra layers on, we haven’t polished it because that’s not the kind of band you can polish, but there’s more of a cinematic feel, I think.”

Ryan hopes that their new album extends the lyrical theme of Men’s Needs — the differences between genders, worrying about your own behavior, even feeling guilty about “being a male.” Ryan says despite growing up in a house full of men, his family was very matriarchal; there’s a track on the record called “Emasculate Me.” That self-consciousness may explain the band’s all-work, no-partying schedule during their LA recording session (though the early last call time might too). “We’re the good guys! I can say pretty much that I’ve never been a dickhead,” he laughs. “We’re good as gold.”

Here’s the Ignore The Ignorant tracklist:
01 “We Were Aborted”
02 “Cheat On Me”
03 “We Share The Same Skies”
04 “City Of Bugs”
05 “Hari Kari”
06 “Last Year’s Snow”
07 “Emasculate Me”
08 “Ignore The Ignorant”
09 “Save Your Secrets”
10 “Nothing”
11 “Victim Of Mass Production”
12 “Stick To Yr Guns”

And here’s track one “We Were Aborted”:

You can get it at thecribs.com as a free MP3 for a limited time. “Cheat On Me” will be the first official single out 8/31.

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