MusicRecord Reviews

The Cribs

Making guitar legend Johnny Marr an official member of the underground Brit-pop band you share with your brothers can be looked at two ways: either you’re good enough to attract him, or so poor he saw you as a project. The latter is probably what took him to Modest Mouse, but The Cribs might be a different story. Ignore the Ignorant, The Cribs’ fourth record (and first with Marr), is a strikingly melodic 12-song set of nearly perfect pop guitar riffs and choruses so catchy you might lose sleep over them. It’s easily a hyper-candidate for best sing-along record of ’09.

Perhaps surprisingly, Marr’s influence is obvious on only two tracks (the excellent, sonic, rainy day “Last Year’s Snow” and the “Panic”-esque title track). But most are decidedly anti-Smiths, and some approach almost rockabilly rhythms. They’re the kind of songs you crank up in your car and bop to at stop lights, like with the perfectly timed percussion of “Victim of Mass Production.” Sometimes the beats can get slightly monotonous, but there’s still nothing here that’s short of being legitimately good, at the very least. And you just can’t attribute that quality single-handedly to Johnny Marr.

The Cribs are playing the EARL in Atlanta on Jan. 20.