‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ is arguably the holy grail of The Cribs’ back catalogue. A band which constantly delivers, it is rare to see musical consistency as the Wakefield trio cyclically achieve. Now reaching its 10th year, this May sees the iconic indie band head out on tour in celebration of an album which is a timeless artefact from an industry defining era.
The album has stood the test of an ever changing decade like a fine wine, though in truth the band would rather compare to a floating plastic cup of stale beer connecting with the sweaty infusion moshers and crowd surfers alike (in the most romantic way possible of course.) Released 21st May 2007 via long term independent label Wichita Recordings, the Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand) produced album is heralded for supreme production and musical ability. In truth it arguably propelled The Cribs to the top of the main stages and into previously unthinkable famous venues alike.
Opening with “Our Bovine Public,” the album is like a time capsule which remains unburied. It’s opening tune is a stunner in the live arena and is instantly recognisable, it brings much joy and awakening to the morning commute or the beginnings of a never ending night out. “Girls Like Mystery” makes no effort to slower the tone and continues to set the tone for the album’s entirety.
Formed of Gary, Ryan and Ross, the Wakefield brothers are often heralded as one of the greatest bands of the post 2000 generation. Unlike their counterparts, they have gone from strength to strength and remain more relevant now than ever. They have stayed true to themselves which creates an effortless sense of likability whilst constantly delivering strong albums. It is rare to see a band as faultless as The Cribs.
“Men’s Needs” needs no introduction as a song which many a music fan throughout the world should know. Number three in that years ‘NME Song of the Year’ battle, one must only assume that it has outlasted the two singles which dared come above it in such a chart. The track now must be described as an anthem, if any song from the album deserved such recognition it is this one.
“Women’s Needs,””Moving Pictures” and “Ancient History” continue to explore an effortlessly punk rock aspect of The Cribs’s sound whilst also hinting at a more controlled melody. Lyrically the entirety of ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ is coherent, it is a wonder why the Jarman’s are not referred to in the same breath as Doherty, Turner and Barat when it comes to our generation of wordsmiths.
Listening back to such a glorious album often creates an impending influx of returning memories none more so than of classic Cribs gigs from this era. Who can forget their touring commitments across the country or their debut at Coachella or a massive showcase of their abilities at Glastonbury. Filmed on 21st December, their Christmas performance of the album in its entirety at The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds was arguably the greatest of all. It stood up to its two counterpart releases and formed a trio of classic, life changing albums.
Whilst their former albums explored heavy, raucous sounds ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ does well to hint at a softer, gentler side to The Cribs’ ability. “Shoot The Poets” is the best example of this. The album closer is elegant in studio and in the live setting and is a beautiful ode to love. It emphasises Ryan Jarmans’ poetical ability, quite literally, and chords and lyrics enthuse to become a perfect, happy love song.
“Be Safe” is a probable highlight from the album and still remains almost revolutionary in its conception. Collaborated with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth it mixes poignant, deep spoken word with heavy guitar chords, clashing and a huge chorus. It mixed elegance with controlled adrenaline and by using spoken word in a far deeper way than bands such as Velvet Underground were able to “Be Safe” becomes arguably the finest example of merging spoken word and guitar music in the entire universe. Quite fitting, because it never fails to make you feel truly eternal.
How can you not love The Cribs. With 21st May 2017 marking the tenth anniversary of the release of ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ and their fifteenth year as a band, it is an homage to their unique likability that they are still going strong where other’s surrounding them have failed to do so. Their third album acted as a catalyst for all which they have delivered since, it revolutionised not only their sound but inspired an entire new breed of artists even until this day.
We cannot stress how important it is to get down to the album anniversary shows. Sell anything for a ticket because you really won’t want to miss a one off celebration of THE defining album of an era. ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Forever’
Check out the full set from THAT night at the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds:
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