Label: Wichita Recordings Website: Ama The first few press releases for Ignore the Ignorant focussed on the title being a reaction to the recent ‘revival’ of the British National Party, this led many to believe that some of the lyrics on the album might speak out politically (as opposed to ignoring the ignorant), then Gary Jarman quickly came out and stressed that the album was not going to be political; so much ado about nothing then. Surprisingly there was little fanfare surrounding the fact that this is Johnny Marr’s first appearance on record since getting granted fully fledged member status, becoming the fourth long lost Jarman Brother. You almost couldn’t have asked for such an uneventful build up to what really should be an anticipated release. Ignore the Ignorant opens with ‘We were Aborted’ which is very much the archetypal Cribs song – anthemic, messy, and rough around the edges, the embodiment of the brothers Jarman. Johnny Marr gets a chance late in the track to provide a foray into virtuosity. At first I wondered what Marr could bring to the band, I found his work with Modest Mouse largely inconsequential, with The Cribs he provides much needed substance and grace, his guitar work adds the crisp technical skill that was always missing from the Cribs sound. The first single ‘Cheat On Me’ underwhelmed me a little first time around, and it doesn’t get any better within the context of an album, Gary Jarman’s voice seems rather hoarse, similarly gruff like how Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba’s vocals sounded on Good Mourning, you wonder why the band didn’t just postpone the recording session until Jarman had digested a few bottles of Tixylix. Nick Launay’s crystal clear production is showcased on ‘We Share The Same Skies’ the song itself is recycled Cribs, a tale of small town disillusionment, the permanently grey North West Skies, the share bleakness of post-industrial Northern life; the extra layers of sheen remove a little of the grit and charm. Three songs in and I’m beginning to get a little bit concerned, Marr’s magic is left in the back seat. ‘City of Bugs’ starts scuzzily, Marr’s guitar is unleashed and provides a shimmering foil to the brother’s intense trash. The album begins here, belatedly brushing away the cobwebs. The Sonic Youth influence is especially apparent on this track, the nonsensical lyrics, cool gibberish, and the calculated freak outs. I know song order isn’t that important in the IPod age but the album would have benefitted so much from ‘City of Bugs’ being the opener. After the erratic ‘Hari Kari’ things slow down with the endearing ‘Last Year’s Snow’, it’s got this strange Big Star meets John Hughes Movie Soundtrack feel to it, the kind of feel that made the tender ‘Haunted’ from The New Fellas a pleasant change of pace. ‘Emasculate Me’ again is typical Cribs, this time aimlessly fast and furious, Marr lets loose, ripping into frenzy, this one seems to fall in more with the frantic nature of another old fave ‘Third Outing’. Speaking of the past, it is comical that the bouncy drum rhythm on ‘Ignore the Ignorant’ is similar to The Smith’s classic ‘Panic’. ‘Save Your Secret’s is serene, with Byrds like melodies, probably it is the most accomplished song on the album. If we pretend the album ends here then the review might be favourable, after a pretty average opening salvo the album grows in stature. Unfortunately it doesn’t, and instead a stench of filler begins to rise, from the Foo Fighters aping ‘Nothing’ to the empty stadium rock sloganeering of ‘Victims of Mass Production’, ambition is a killer and by the time ‘Stick To Yr Guns’ rears its ugly head the band’s intentions of hitting the big time rise to the surface overwhelming the creativity and innovation. With nearly half of the album consisting of under par, though ‘big’ sounding filler you wonder exactly what Johnny Marr has brought to The Cribs, other then maturing their sound; it is difficult to forget that he helped to compose some of indie rocks greatest songs during the eighties, has the magic touch gone? It seems Marr is playing the father role on Ignore the Ignorant, helping the band to grow into their potential. Unlike most bands that acquire a new member The Cribs haven’t just got the addition of a competent musician, they’ve got a legend, and I think the Marr factor cannot be understated as the main reason why this album is a disappointment. Previous album Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever continued the bands transformation from raggedy indie romantics into top tier players At best Ignore the Ignorant is a consolidation record, evidently the current formation of the band means that things will need to settle down a bit, I’d love The Cribs to get straight back into the studio after touring this album and hopefully put things right next year. Rating: 6/10