17 August 2005

the cribs - "the wrong way to be"(from the new fellas lp, available for pre-order here)

i think my post of yesterday necessarily implied that i'm not listening to much contemporary music, which isn't quite true. what i've been listening--what, really, i've been listening to for the last eight years or so is british pop & rock. one of the bands that i've taken to, and a band that haven't necessarily received the pub that many of their peers have, is the cribs, whose debut is released next week in the states.

the cribs' second album, produced by edwyn collins, is a marked change, to my ears at least, from their debut, which seemed to be a hybrid of the libertines and the strokes (at which one might confidently ask how one makes a hybrid of two similar acts). this set me about thinking about this new wave of british pop, which several outfits have called "the return of britpop," which is fair, i think, if the reference is general; not quite so accurate if it refers to the years, oh, 1993-1997.

following this proclamation, i attempted to make a band-to-band correlation between the two eras, only to quit in frustration when i realized that i had six or seven blurs, w/ nary an oasis in sight. it seemed much easier to compare these bands to the original british invasion (w/, say, the libertines as the stones); even easier when comparing them to british (post) punk outfits (ooh, but who will be gang of four?) i suppose at this point i should list the bands i'm talking about, which is somewhat difficult in itself. there are two different headings, i believe, but they're not mututally exclusive. (bands marked w/ an asterisk could just as well have been in the other category.)

the libertines (debut: 6/02)
razorlight (11/03)
*the cribs
*the ordinary boys (2/04)
the others (4/04)
*hard-fi (1/05)
dogs (2/05)
the rakes (4/05)
arctic monkeys (5/05)

franz ferdinand (debut: 8/03)
kasabian (9/03)
art brut (3/04)
bloc party (4/04)
engineers (9/04)
kaiser chiefs (11/04)
maximo park
editors (1/05)
clor (2/05)

(do let me know if i'm missing anyone. i used the nme singles of the week as my guide; i can't think of a better listing of the hip and the has-beens.)

what this particular classification factors out is the futureheads, who debuted in march of 2003, five months before franz ferdinand. at the time, franz ferdinand made more sense in the early 80s/late 70s style that the futureheads seemed to revive with the 1-2-3-nul! ep, a style also being worked by lesser contemporaneous acts like dogs die in hot cars, the delays, and, um, ambershades. since then, however, i think most bands have chosen to follow the commercial path blazed by franz. (not to say that the futureheads haven't had success--i've heard "decent days & nights" on commercial radio here, but it seems more like an exception than a rule.)

the cribs, then, aren't necessarily the new fellas their album would have you think. indeed, they've been around almost as long as the aforementioned ferdinand. what is new, though, and this might be the edwyn influence, is their exchanging new york cool for cool britannia: "the wrong way to be" has the attitude of dexys ("your scene has got a lot to answer for") crossed w/ the racket of a fall w/ 'top of the pops' on their mind. they are, along w/ maximo park, the two bands, at this point, that i expect the most out of. not to be confused w/ the band i expect the most interesting out of, who may still very well be franz ferdinand: i'm not sure what to make of "do you want to," but i now very much want to hear you can have it so much better.

which is another story entirely.

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