REVIEW: CRIBSHITTER – METHLEHEM (2011)
A lilting banjo melody lulls the listener into the first track of Cribshitter‘s, Methlehem. The simple instrumental beauty is cut short by second track, “Boom Goes the Vaginamite.” Jarring, yes, but essential. The earnest irony of Cribshitter is enough to warm any cold hipster’s heart with rainbows and poop jokes, leaping between hymnal meditations (“Come with me, Lord”) and instrumental farce (“Norah Jones Fired Her Drummer”). Their eclectic sound, “twang poop” according to their frontman Diaper Dan, harnesses the timbral power of a variety of genres; some parodied, some not. While they are still in dire need of a producer for quality control, there’s a certain charm to their “everything-we-record-is-going-on-the-album-sensibility.” In an industry filled with pretense and forced cool, Cribshitter is refreshingly sincere. The aura is best represented in three tracks: “Full-time lover,” “Hippie Girl,” and “Riverboat Casino.”
Full Time Lover
Resting on a blanket of warm country texture, “Full-Time Lover” is a sweet song of yearning for a forgiving lover, who won’t sweat the small stuff or manufacture drama (“I need a lover/Not a den guarding mother/I need a father/Not a Rorsach blotter”). The characters in the song then affectionately refer to each other as their “little methelem[s];” a safe place to start anew…and lose your teeth, I suppose. Hearing this melody again in the song, “Methlehem,” suggests some wonderful prospects for their future albums in terms of cohesion.
In the spirit of Weezer, “Hippie Girl” begins with an inane dialogue between two ambitious individuals, one of whom is brandishing a didgeridoo, insisting his friend finish his LSD. This mock live track illustrates another odd romance formed over a shared love of Burt’s Bees, set, fittingly to a Phish-like harmonic texture.
A swaggering, New Orleans honky-tonk is the perfect backdrop for the drunken story that unfolds in “Riverboat Casino” (I got stuck on a Riverboat Casino in East St. Louis/I think it was the pills I took mixing with the canned oxygen/Either that or the poor arch support the town Is always known for/So I tried to get the barkeep to mix me up a Dr. Scholls and soda”). The tuba player, Danika, chimes in to assist in finishing the yarn. (“He ended up tossing you a bar rag to wipe your unibrow”).
In short, give Cribshitter a chance. Sure they might eat their boogers and act like an idiot during 5th period Biology, but they’ll be the best friend you’ll ever have.
For more Cribshitter, check out a review of their last album, Cry A Little Rainbow.