Cribabi – Volume

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Currently one of the few British bands to be selling records in America, Cribabi (pronounced “cry baby”) is anglophile Japanese singer / guitarist Yukari Fujiu and Andy Cox, formerly of Fine Young Cannibals and the Beat.

Mixing sleek trip-hop beats with Fujiu’s sassy vocals, and occasionally choppy guitar, Cribabi create a sound that illustrates the collision between the cutesy futurism of Japanese culture and the urban grittiness of London music.

Most of VOLUME is effortlessly pop, but there are moments of edginess – they rock out on GLORIA and DISAPPEAR, the incongruously-titled YOU’RE SO SWEET seethes in a menacing minor-chord way, and the rhythmic tour de force of opener EVERYTHING IS NOTHING may be a sonic red herring, but it’s an impressive one.

As shiny new single I’M THE ONE? demonstrates, Cribabi can come close to scaling the space-rock heights of Garbage or Kelli-fronted Sneaker Pimps. While far from ground-breaking, it’s nonetheless not hard to envisage this album launching a lucrative career for these two talented musicians, making the fact that most of these songs were written 6,000 miles apart over the Internet all the more remarkable.

4 stars