Reassuringly familiar, The Cribs give a steady, yet uninspiring account of themselves on Sunday afternoon at Reading 2015.
Heading into their 7th Reading performance with nearly as many albums to back it up, it’s hard not to wonder where else The Cribs have left to go. The big problem with their once irresistable brand of low-fi indie is that by now, you know exactly what youre getting with them. There are no surprises, no hard punches and in some senses, less and less reasons to prioritise The Cribs in otherwise busy festival schedules. The high points of tracks such as I’m a Realist no longer propell the imagination into a flurry of youthful outpour and with it, The Cribs struggle to truly resonate over their midday main stage crowd.
They are of course fun, energetic and at times thought provoking – the ever-brilliant Be Safe proving as much – but over the years, their once pioneering sound has become a little bland and stale. Their brief flirtation with Johnny Marr at the turn of their fourth studio album, Ignore the Ignorant, is the closest The Cribs have come to truly achieving a progression of their sound in keeping with their passing years. Within their set there are still all the fan favorites – opening track Mirror Kisses, Come On, Be a No-One from their 5th album In the Belly of the Brazen Bull and Indie gem Our Bovine Public – but now, The Cribs no longer effortlessly trigger mass-carnage at every turn. Even singer Ryan Jarman somewhat awkwardly notes the lack of movement in the crowd, suggesting that in years gone by the front would be, full of mosh pits. The irony here of course is that Reading certainly hasnt slowed down, but musically, The Cribs perhaps have.
They are as passionate, energetic and intense as they always have been, but we get the sense as they exit to Pink Snow that The Cribs need to inject something different into their make-up. It seems that only with a new excitment and verve can The Cribs once again challenge the status quo of indie that they once conquered with such charming ease.