CRIBSHITTER – Goin’ Soft
You can buy the album here
What’s in a name, anyway? If you aren’t familiar with Cribshitter you might imagine their music to be pretty raunchy, maybe punk rock. But the name is part of the innuendo that makes the group tick.
Goin’ Soft, as a title, is a case in point. Their best album to date, it could describe this collection of retro-pop in the vein of 10cc, Air Supply, the Eagles or Fleetwood Mac. Or it could reference the loads of the tongue-in-cheek sexual innuendo that makes their music tick. What started out as a near-parody of pop bands has turned into a seriously ambitious musical effort spiked with loads of obscure cultural references that will make you laugh. It’s clear that a band who once wrote a song “There’s Hot Sauce in My Pussy” will not shy away from telling it like they want to. And this brings to mind another comparison: Cribshitter could well be Madison’s Flight of the Conchords.
Musically the band is centered around husband and wife duo Karl and Christine Christenson’s (stage names Diaper Daniels and Danika Dutchcap) synthesizers, guitars and vocals. With Nathan Tredinnick (Ropin’ Rodeo Nate) they get extra plusses; tasty guitar but also saxophone which has become a key component in the mix. Sax is the first sound out of the gate on opener “Now Where Are We?” one of a handful of short instrumental interludes included with the album’s eighteen tracks. “Boutonniere” is a short, yacht-jazz piece, the main theme echoing Orleans’ “Dance with Me.” “The Willful” is a 40-second piano solo with a folky vibe and another familiar melody. The title track goes all acoustic guitar and tosses in country-western flourishes at once at odds with the bulk of the album and with the title. Andy Moore’s banjo gets in on the act. “The Scythe (Coming Home)” is another track less than two minutes, this time with vocals and is more typical of the album’s main vibe. It starts out earnestly, covering the first strains of Cinderella’s “I’m Coming Home” before the lyrics hijack it into a hilarious parody. This encapsulates Cribshitters’ identity; they are fine musicians and great singers but they refuse to take it seriously. They’re entertaining on two levels.
“She Barely Loves Me” comes from the male perspective of a strained relationship. Truth is said to be the key to humor and this drives nearly all the album’s lyrics. The kicker in this one is “I cry my way through boner commercials.” “Assplay,” then, is the female response to the situation: “I’ll never forgive you for our honeymoon / We had plans to visit the escape room / But instead of showing up / You got my best friend knocked up / Now we’re paying for an escape womb.” Christine’s tuba solo is especially apropos and, aside from that, the song would not be out of place on a Loretta Lynn album. “You’re Lucky I Love You” is a hilarious conversation between lovers in an eighties throwback, Fleetwood Mac musical style. Having the Urban Dictionary handy is helpful with a Cribshitter record. “Trapper Keeper / You’re that homeroom creeper.” Look it up. The bridge is the male response and somehow, when the sax kicks in it’s even more funny.
There seem to be plenty of boater culture references on previous album Acapulco and on “COVID Cove.” Anyone who’s pulled up to ta party spot on while boating on Madison’s lakes will get a special kick from this one. It was released as a single in August of 2020.
People often say there is a Madison Sound. I’m not sure that’s been defined musically but in terms of attitude Cribshitter defines it better than anyone. Long may they shit the crib of expectations.