The Cribs are an indie rock band from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever is their third studio album. The Cribs are made up of three brothers: Gary Jarman and his twin, Ryan, and their younger brother Ross. Right off the bat, The Cribs reminded me of Franz Ferdinand. Surprisingly enough, Franz Ferdinand’s lead vocalist Alex Kapranos produced this album.
Despite being produced by such a big name, I don’t feel like this album is anything spectacular. I had a hard time telling when one song ended and another one started. After signing with Warner Bros. Records, The Cribs took a shot at having a minor story arch through the semi-conceptual tracks “Men’s Needs” and “Women’s Needs”, shared in the album’s title. The majority of the album is held together by quickly-strumming guitar and bass riffs and garage-band vocals, broken up only by “Be Safe” and the acoustic “Shoot The Poets”. The different tracks are incredibly effective, partially because they’re such a breath of fresh air. I wish the lyrics shared the depth that “Be Safe” featured in Lee Ranaldo’s spoken-word poem.
I felt that at times the vocals were drowned out by the accompanying guitar and bass. That being said, there were some moments on the album that worked well vocally. There were some nice vocal effects and harmonies – namely on “I’m a Realist” and “Women’s Needs” – that I wish the band used more often.
“Women’s Needs” is my favorite track, although I feel like it would work really well if it was acoustic. This track has some sections in 7/4, a nice rhythmic change. There are some really nice vocal parts in this song that are unfortunately drowned out by the guitar. If the guitar wasn’t so heavily distorted, this track could be really solid.
Another notable track is “Shoot The Poets”, the only acoustic track on the album. This song takes the listener from a loud and crowded underground rock club to a cozy coffeehouse (much more my scene).
There were parts of this album that I really liked, parts that I almost liked, and parts that I didn’t like. As I said before, I wish The Cribs used more vocal harmony, didn’t drown out the vocals, and varied the sound and style periodically. I liked some parts of Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, but for the most part, it wasn’t for me.
Favorite Track: “Women’s Needs”