cribabi is an interesting project.
Once upon a time, Andy Cox (formerly of Fine Young Cannibals and the Beat) must have needed some extra money, and thusly contributed a monologue about guitar playing to a DIY English learning book and cassette called Cool Talk for Rock People. The set went for sale in Japan, in our case Tokyo, where it was purchased by a charming young lady named Yukari Fujiu. She was just about to quit university in order to focus on music and needed to learn English so she could sing the songs she loved. She was successful in her exploits, working as a session singer and writing songs--two of which became hits for other Japanese artists (that's where the money is kids!), and eventually releasing two solo albums in Japan.
Well, she continued to dream of releasing an album in English, and found herself in London at long last. Completely by chance, she met the aforementioned Andy Cox--just as he was starting to consider going to Tokyo to meet Japanese artists... She played her cards well, mystically telling him about how he had traded a model kit for his first guitar... whheeeeoooowheeeoooooo... and sealed their musical future together in one weekend of beer, food and fun.
Their debut album Volume is the result of all that weird chance. It definitely defies classification, as the press release tells me it will. At times it seems to want to ride the J-Pop pony--but then it doesn't quite make it aboard, the instruments are too real and the English lyrics a little too strange. It also has flavors of P. J. Harvey, like in the gritty bare-rock "You're So Sweet." There were also hints of Bjork and obscure jungle techno all through. The one really weird song that I couldn't quite get my head 'round was a strange thing referencing oldies doo-wap, singing about all the songs she used to love. It had a strange underwater rhythm--slower than it felt like it should be, which made the whole song experience really uncomfortable. Maybe that's what they wanted to do?
Their mission is to express themselves without boundaries. They definitely do that--unfortunately I don't think it always comes across as palatable for the general listener. They're both obviously talented, creative people, and sparkles of genius twinkle out here and there from Volume. But in general, this project seems too young still. They haven't honed the material yet--the songs aren't quite harnessed and built to their full potential. Yes, "It's good to do music because you like it and not bother about where it's going to fit in," as Andy Cox put it--but you do have to make sure it's not stream of consciousness churned out just because you can. Don't get me wrong, the whole album isn't like that--they just aren't quite using their genius to make sense yet. I look forward to seeing what comes out of their future work together, because Yukari's voice is definitely unique and their collaboration interesting.
7Laurie Parker's Score