Since 2007, Cribshitter has forced Madison show-goers to ask themselves some difficult questions. Namely, does this really require a tuba and a lion mask, and is that local guitar hero Jeff Masino jumping onstage to play squealing leads on a song called "I Got Hot Sauce In My Pussy"? (Answers: of course and yes.)
Cribshitter continues drawing on a stockpile of shiny pop and country sounds with Methlehem, the whopping 29-song, 79-minute follow-up to 2008's Cry A Little Rainbow. (The band will celebrate the album with a show at Dragonfly Lounge on Friday, January 27.) Despite spending more and more time contributing to the maturing band Icarus Himself, guitarist-singer Karl Christenson joins his Cribshitter mates in writing another ream of lyrics about genitals (the album's main single is the electro-poppy "Boom Goes The Vaginamite") and a host of unsavory lifestyle choices ("Riverboat Casino," "Puppy Mills"), amassing a vocabulary of X-rated baby-talk in the process.
Like everything else about Cribshitter, the song "How Do You Talk To A Lady?" at first seems unfortunate in the extreme, but soon fesses up to a surprising amount of charm and craft. That's the devil's bargain with this band: It tricks you into singing along with stuff that you know is deliberately and abjectly stupid and crass. The tips Christenson and wife Christine sweetly intone here, over drippy electric-piano soul, includes "hit her on the head with a frying pan / set fireworks off in her purse."
The instrumental breaks showcase Cribshitter's taste for the elaborate, mixing Christine's tuba with fluttering flute, organ, and the sound of someone splashing around in a bathtub. Then again, what really makes the song work is the genuine streak of dopey tenderness: "give her a whisper, give her a kiss, give her a tickling time... Light up a fire for her, turn on a bubble bath." Near song's end, you hear a man knocking at the bathroom door and a woman saying, "na-uh, this is my time."
Nowhere near as filthy as Cribshitter is capable of being, "How Do You Talk To A Lady?" still shows you how much work and guile the band will put behind an infantile idea. In fact, Karl Christenson considers it "one of the most cracked songs on the album." Respect the work Cribshitter has done, but be careful about following the romantic advice.
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