The Cribs

This will be a decisive year for The Cribs to prove they are greater than the sum of their influences.

Feature by Iain Radcliffe | 15 Feb 2006

If Ryan and Gary Jarman, both 25, are ever faced with the edjit music hack's staple "Where did you two meet?", they could do worse than reprise the Proclaimers' answer on Swap Shop - "In our mother's womb!" With brother Ross (21) on drums, The Cribs have had plenty of time to develop a tight musical understanding and insular, two-fingers-to-the-world attitude since their debut performance at a family party in 1989, when five-year old Ross bashed a makeshift kit to accompany his elder twin siblings.

Having created a buzz through the guerrilla gig scene with the likes of The Libertines and Razorlight, the brothers followed a self-titled debut album in 2004 with breakthrough single Hey Scenesters! charting at number 27 in April last year. 'The New Fellas' album followed in June.

The Cribs' most recognisable song rails against the fakery evident among the same kind of indie scene responsible for the band's success to date, viewed from their perspective as Wakefield outsiders. Despite citing The Beatles, Smiths and Sex Pistols as influences, Hey Scenesters! could slip stealthily onto The Strokes' 'Is This It?', with its taut new-wave stylings and infectious wiry, guitar riff, were it not for Ryan belting out the catchy title refrain, broad vowels and all.

While some of the more excitable sections of the music press are preparing to put the knackers on The Cribs' career by prematurely crowning them as the next big this or that of the week, sceptics who have seen the indie-hype-machine inflate mediocre bands countless times before will want to separate the hype from the hyperbole.

One of a rash of young male bands armed with insouciant, observational songs, The Cribs' name seems aptly chosen in that they wear their influences a little too obviously at times. However, they have impeccable taste in bands to pinch from - bands themselves not adverse to a spot of inspired pilfering. Their infatuation with The Beatles ("our backbone") is evident through excitable call and response vocals, and a fondness for Merseybeat drum patterns which can become a little predictable over the course of an album.

In their favour, The Cribs are gaining a reputation for sweaty, intense live performances and they write choruses which will lodge in your head all day. 'Martell' in particular seems designed as a football terrace shout-along, perhaps at the expense of lyrical insight - "La la la la, can you hear me? I don't know. Whoa oh oh oh."

With their fair share of acolytes and detractors, 2006 will be a decisive year for the Jarman brothers to prove they are greater than the sum of their influences, and more than fleeting indie scenesters.

The Cribs play Gig in Edinburgh, on Feb 14