Night Network is a delightfully exhilarating record which embodies the defiant spirit of The Cribs. The chances of this record even existing is a miracle in itself, but for it to be so upbeat is a testament to the sheer tenacity of the three Jarman brothers who also self-produced the record.
The problems began when the band split from their long-time management just one day after the release of their last record in 2017. After they started to get their accounts in order, they realised that the rights to the music which they have spent the entirety of their adult lives creating no longer belonged to them. There were several points when these external issues made their job almost impossible but not ones to give up they instead kept fighting. It wasn’t until this February when the issues were finally resolved and for the first time in years The Cribs could finally look forward again. After every barrage of bullshit that they’ve been faced with, somehow they have emerged more united than ever and with a record to be truly proud about.
Album opener ‘Goodbye’ is the only dour track on the record and is an anomaly on the record, it tricks the listener into believing they are going to get a very different record to the one they get. The song makes you drop your guard and allows the ferocious ‘Running Into You‘ to come at you at 200 miles an hour, flying out of the traps like a wild dog. This is reminiscent of their much-adored first record all the way back in 2004 when the anomaly opener ‘The Watch Trick’ that preceded the euphoric ‘You Were Always The One’.
The album is very much a classic Cribs record, it’s a sound that they’ve mastered over the last couple of decades that is entirely unique to them, with twins Ryan and Gary Jarman sharing vocal duties which complement each other beautifully.
Night Network isn’t overcooked from a production perspective, it doesn’t feel too clean and has that rawness to it which has been a mainstay throughout their career. The record is reminiscent of their 2012 effort In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull which like Night Network was a source of escapism for the group during a dark time and sonically, there are similarities throughout.
‘She’s My Style’ is a dosage of fun that like the rest of the album is made to be played live. ‘The Weather Speaks Your Name’ is the most poignant moment of the record and the chemistry that the three brothers have is present for all to hear. The Lee Ranaldo collaboration ‘Don’t Know Who I Am’ is another highlight from the record, that manages to see them cope with self-doubt in their defiant manner.
Night Network is a record which epitomises The Cribs as a band, constantly defying all expectations and coming back with a fierce uppercut whenever somebody dares write them off. Long may it continue!