CRUMB – AMAMA 

A refreshing, probing return...

The band Crumb have always been poetic in their sensibilities – whether it be on and dreamlike sound the band create through experimentation and intentional imperfection, or through candidly haunting lyrics penned by frontman Lila Ramani. However, it is on their latest release ‘AMAMA’ that Ramani, keyboardist and saxophonist Bri Aronow, bassist Jesse Brotter, and drummer Jonathan Gilad meld the familiar with a fresh dose of movement. This animation nestles within sound and elevates it through introductions of sonic newness, all centered around an ever present question that runs throughout the tracks; Where is the familiar?

The album documents the band’s almost constant momentum over the last few years; with touring being a dominating presence throughout their careers. We hear this restless quality throughout the tracks, such as on the album’s opener ‘From An Outside Window Sill’. Above the foundation of repeated motifs and bending synths, distorted sounds are introduced, ranging from snippets of voice notes to static feedback. Each addition fragments the track, turning linear into an all-encompassing soundscape. It mirrors the feeling of being overwhelmed by the new, and comfortable, far-fleeting; themes that will become more apparent when delving in further.

Moving throughout the album, a sense of spacelessness dominates, with the band’s unique mix of psych, indie, and jazz inflections creating jagged fluctuations, reminiscent of being on the edge of consciousness. The fittingly titled ‘Sleep Talk’ begins with drone-like synths and dream-like vocals, before a jolt in rhythm intrudes, and alerts the lister, instantly transforming into a unanticipated chorus of pulsating drumbeats and a an ongoing haunting line ‘She’ll never leave you’. Like the album themes suggest, we are never in a moment of familiarity. Instead, we are left to stumble on and discover an invitation that makes tracks linger with the listener long after; Much like the questions of ‘what if?’ and other lifetimes this track hints at. 

Ultimately, the album is one that teeters on comfort and the usual, and as such makes for one of the most exciting listens of this year. Throughout, we are always one step into the unknown, however, thanks to the band’s ability, building foundations in the present. It is this that takes Crumb from a band we know, and slowly introduces elements that will shape their artistic presence for albums to come. ‘AMANA’ walks the line of comfort, and the new; inviting us to come on the journey.

7/10

Words: Lily Blakeney-Edwards

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