11 December 2008

"Never exist without being generic, you have to impress our bovine public"

Recently quite a few bands have come back with big albums, usually their third or fourth effort, only for it to be a letdown. Kaiser Chiefs, The Verve, Kings Of Leon, Fall Out Boy, The Killers, Bloc Party, Snow Patrol. All their latest albums have failed in one way or another, be it critically, commercially or with hardcore fans. Now this may be because of hype generated by the media or the high quality of previous albums, but it's starting to become a worrying trend (well certainly for me), especially for some bands I hold dear. Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes will be releasing their third and fourth albums respectively next year, and whilst all signs point towards two classic albums, there could still be a chance of them flopping (a much bigger worry for The Strokes, considering the year long hiatus). But the main casue for concern is The Cribs. Whilst there is no news on any new material, it is certain that 2009 will see a new Cribs release. This is significant as guitar legend and God in general, Johnny Marr has joined their ranks. The possibilities are almost endless and the outcome is bound to be genius, but some parallels are starting to worry me, especially with Kings Of Leon.

The Followill clan's third effort "Because Of The Times" showed a definite change of direction for the band, one that diverted from their roots but not by much, and won them a bigger audience with their best collection of songs yet. This year, the band has grown even bigger, becoming chart-toppers and Glasto headliners, yet fourth album "Only By The Night", whilst thrusting them into the glare of the mainstream, was their weakest album to date and lost them much of their original fanbase. Now The Cribs last album "Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever" was also the band's best collection of songs yet, with a change in direction but not too big of a change. See the similarity?

Despite the involvement of Marr, most signs point towards a slip-up in terms of quality. The one new song that has been widely heard is "Victims Of Mass Production", which is pretty much what you'd expect from a Cribs/Marr collaboration; all jangly guitar, razor sharp riffing and massive hooks. But the subject matter (fake, generic indie bands. Oh hai Pigeon Detectives and Razorlight!) has already been covered by the band twice in the last year or so. A lack of ideas for the Jarman brothers? Could they be getting too caught up in their War On Fake Indie (© NME 2007) that they're turning into what they hate? Or is it just a massive fan getting a little worried about some coincidences? We'll have to wait and see...

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