The year was 2009. I was sat at my computer in the kitchen of my mum’s house (where I’m sat as I write this). I was only 14. It was getting on to about 7PM, I’d got home from school, had dinner, and logged on to MSN. Flicking through YouTube, I think I was listening to Pulp? Then out of nowhere my life changed forever.

‘Men’s Needs’, by The Cribs came on. Similar to those films based in the 80s, when a music nerd gets hold of a band’s new vinyl, I ran around to my friend’s house and put the band on. We sat in silence for about five minutes afterwards and just digested what it was that we had just listened to.

Little did I know, that The Cribs would go on to develop my music taste, my opinions of society, and love of beer.

At the age of 14 what I heard was a band playing something I could dance to, and wholly enjoy at parties. But as I’ve grown up and began to actually listen to The Cribs, a deeper connection has formed between me and the band. People don’t seem to realise, but a lot of The Cribs’ lyrics aren’t just about meeting a girl, as they often first seem.

The Cribs’ lyricism is so understated in the way that it is profound and thought provoking. If you take a look at, ‘Mirror Kissers’, for example, the main hook is, “You aren’t allowed to say, that you’re better, you aren’t allowed to say that, because you’re the hipster type”. No other band was saying that in 2005. The era of which this was in, was the same time that Landfill Indie was in full swing.

Whilst The Kooks were singing about girls moving in their own way, and Johnny Borrell about his hangover, The Cribs were doing what they have seemingly gone on to do through out their career: themselves. Their first album, though it was taken to during its release, has always been over shadowed by their second.

The New Fellas was when the band was hitting full swing, and started to form their coined punk sound. The jagged guitars, ferocious drums, and shouty, almost New York bohemian, vocals started to take centre stage. But even so, when that second album is still heralded to this day, fan favourites, such as, ‘Another Number’, ‘Lights Went Out’, and ‘You Were Always The One’, featured on the eponymous debut.

It truly is a crying shame that 2007’s Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, is the go to album for people being introduced to the band. Whilst it is the most mainstream effort throughout the band’s time, the band’s later stuff has managed to mix punk, shoegaze and punk better than ever before.

Alas, the 2007 album, however, is the one that sums The Cribs up. They, for a brief moment in time became a single band. A band who could release one single, and take over the world. But as The Cribs are, and as they do, the whole album still proved a meatier proposition than just, ‘Men’s Needs’. Tracks such as, ‘Shoot The Poets’, show Ryan Jarman in an unknown quantity, soft and dialled down, it’s a true love song that still, somehow, manages to have a bit of a snarl about it.

The stadium worthy, ‘Be Safe’, is still one of the greatest songs of our generation. No doubt about it. The fact that the band managed to use their rising popularity to talk about depression in that way, and have it resonate with “the youth”, is what a punk band is simply meant to do. More over, tracks like, ‘I’m A Realist’, have managed to stand the test of time along with, ‘Major’s Titling Victory’. It was a great album, and is a good reference point for new fans, but it’s nowhere near the best. Not even close.

Now in the context of their entire discography, Ignore The Ignorant, was certainly the worst of the lot. The introduction of Johnny Marr took the band’s girth and rage, and swapped it for melancholic, toned down tunes about the north’s weather. Some moment such as, ‘We Were Aborted’, are worth mentioning, as well as, ‘City Of Bugs’, But the album as a whole just lacked that spontaneity, and that raw powerful sound.

But this is how good The Cribs are, because Ignore The Ignorant was still a fucking good album. It’s aged really well. It was a different version of The Cribs, and it was one that needed to happen, because the albums that followed were some of the band’s best work.

2012’s, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, was a difficult one to understand at first. It was huge, it sounded deafening, but some of the guitar work is the best you’ll get out of Ryan Jarman. Some of the lyricism showed the band in a more vulnerable state. For example, ‘Come On Be A No-One’, is actually one of the saddest songs you’ll probably ever hear if you digest it.

This was post-Kate Nash, so you can hazard a guess that a lot of those lyrics were about the breakup that happened between Jarman and Nash. But that doesn’t matter, because this album saw The Cribs do what they do best, make you want to lift a pint to the roof of your local ale house and belt the lyrics out at the top of your lungs.

As well as that track, album opener, ‘Glitters Like Gold’, sees the band do a song in C Sharp (exactly). Whilst the wall of noise that comes out of the album’s title track, is almost too serendipitous to not enjoy. Then there is the candid track of ‘Chi-Town’, which was written in the studio as a last minute track, actually turned out to be one of the best from the album. Pretty sure they start shouting the letters of the word “ass” at one point too.

All of this led to their latest, and actually best work to date, For All My Sisters. The band took a more pop based approach, and what they managed to come out with was a very credible, and really enjoyable, record. The tracks that are a particular stand out are the likes of, ‘Pink Snow’, ‘Mr Wrong’, and the lead single, ‘Burning For No One’.

The album features synthesizers throughout, yet the band haven’t let themselves slip down a gear, and managed to keep everything loud, monstrous, and most importantly punk. For All My Sisters proves that The Cribs can try their hand at anything, and yet they will still come out with something just as good as an earlier effort.

The Cribs are one of the most consistent bands of my generation. There are reasons why this is true. For starters, not many bands that started before or during the days of Landfill Indie and actually lasted to this point, whilst keeping their own cult following interested.

They joked about being the same age as Bart Simpson on stage once. And it was quite apt of them to do that. For like The Simpsons, their success lies in the fact that they can get a young following in through their fast-paced, heavy sound, and keep them in their pockets due to their understated lyricism.

Only when seeing The Cribs will you see a mid-teen lad hug a fully grown skinhead… Or was that just me? Either way, The Cribs are a band that speak to the weird and different people amongst us. They say something without being bogged down by it. The messages are there for you to digest, but only at your own will. At the end of the day, you can love them, because musically they are unreal, or you can love them for what they stand for. Regardless, here’s to the Jarmans, the most consistent musicians of a generation.

Best album: In The Belly Of A Brazen Bull

Best single: ‘Mirror Kissers’

Words: Sam Meaghan