With haunting vocals and instrumentals, Crumb creates a dream world with their album, Jinx.
Crumb’s first album begins with a whisper as lead singer Lila Ramani asks us, “How do you keep yourself from cracking?” With every song, my own answer at least becomes clearer: with music that relates, intrigues, and dreamily lifts above the muddle of emotion that may cause cracks in the first place.
Crumb has always been a master at mumbling their poignancy in a manner that, rather than dismisses them, makes their voice all the more important to focus on. It can be easy to let the tracks melt together, and there is definitely a space for that type of listen: a casual car ride, a backtrack to cleaning, soundbites for the strolls between two destinations. However, by listening closely, the elegant shifts in the instrumentals reveal themselves and the poetic stories of each song present themselves in full force. Each is quick; the entire album taking up a sweet 28 minutes. No more than that is needed for the sharpness hidden in their soft sound to make its great escape.
Lines don’t always make perfect sense. Their stories seem to follow a logic more reminiscent of dreams, and their instrumentals back up this innovative narrative with their synth-like texture. Ramani sings lines like, “Deep in the night/I awake to a sound/Is it mice on the floor/Or the pipes in the ground?” and “Last night, I laid my head down/And felt all the demons again.” It’s clear; the album doesn’t hide its dream-like movements and utilizes abundant imagery to create this dreamscape. With that, each song becomes something of a fantasy, ranging from two short verses to other full-length, vivid songs. Perhaps, this quality is what makes the band’s sound so intangibly identifiable. The music reaches out to the subconscious more than it attempts to relate to the boredom of the everyday. Emotions and logic become less relevant as a deeper state is reached; one that relies not on plot, but a shared complexity of emotions, of stories, of life.
If you haven’t listened to Jinx yet, be sure to catch it here. While you’re at it, check out their music video for “Nina” off the new release below. The video highlights the same mysticism as the music and even elevates the style with its trap doors, deep blues, and a floating Ramani.