The debut album from Brooklyn-based psych-pop group Crumb comes after two EPs from 2016 and 2017 which have racked up a big, big lot of plays and a massive touring stint ft. a “traumatic” car crash. Recorded last summer, ‘Jinx’ hones their existing sound and fashions it into something altogether more direct and appealing.
It’s an album which is very hard to dislike. The middle bunch of songs, in particular, are highlights: the lo-fi touch of ‘Fall Down’, the reverse intro to ‘MR’ giving way to a chorus carried by a sinuous synth line, 1:33 of ‘The Letter’ etc. Throughout, singer and guitarist Lila Ramani veers between a slightly detached coo and something more strident, while behind is something more fraught, even on the breezy pop of ‘Better’.
Single ‘Part III’ is equally bright-sounding and yet its structure undermines it slightly, with the shift at 1:46, and takes away some of its predictableness. On ‘And It Never Ends’, “the city is dense and it makes me tense” is incanted, its eeriness bolstered by some strange synth sounds circling around. The group would do well to continue playing around and experimenting sonically. Live, it already seems as though they are more disposed to improvisation.
On record, there’s a gauziness that might please some but wash over others. Lines can be perspicacious but also come off a bit anodyne, as on ‘Part III’. Perhaps, it’s also a tad hard to really love.
It casts off the try-hard, jazzy sheen of their first EP and builds on the formula behind ‘Locket’. There are shades of Melody’s Echo Chamber, Mild High Club and BADBADNOTGOOD (especially on ‘Nina’), with less of the navel-gazing, although there’s also something slightly untraceable about them.
That they feature in Spotify’s ‘Ultimate Indie’ and ‘Modern Psychedelia’ playlists and their videos (unfortunately accompanied by comments along the lines of “trippy, man.. LSD xD lol”) are often suggested means some might well listen to individual tracks rather than the whole thing. But ‘Jinx’ isn’t really a narrative anyway, more a fine assemblage in which a slightly eldritch weirdness is balanced with pop nous. It certainly feels like Crumb are on the cusp of something here.
Words: Wilf Skinner
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