Aural Fix: Crumb

on October 5, 2019

Fusing elements of Brazilian psych-pop, free jazz and shoegaze, the Brooklyn quartet Crumb make blissfully languid bedroom orchestras for the introspectively inclined. But while it would be tempting to peg Crumb’s brand of aural psychotropics simply as “chill,” lyrically the band’s songs convey contemplative and complex narratives.

Consisting of singer and guitarist Lila Ramani, bassist Jesse Brotter, keyboardist and saxophonist Brian Aronow, and drummer Jonathan Gilad, the foursome met in 2016 while studying at Tufts University in Boston where they each were members of a small, cross-pollinating campus music scene. Ramani had been writing a collection of songs since high school, opening the floor for her future bandmates to freely explore and expand upon them. This loose, experimentally creative process eventually led to the formation of Crumb.

While evenly split between Boston and Brooklyn, the band released two well-received EP’s: 2016’s Crumb and 2017’s Locket. Recalling the coasting, gossamer vibes of Broadcast, Parsley Sound, Stereolab, and a dearth of ‘60s-era Brazilian pop records, Crumb’s two extended players (and several years of constant touring) quickly solidified the bands luxuriously hypnotic, yet complexly time-shifting sound.With all four members of the band now residing in Brooklyn, Crumb tapped Fleet Foxes and Soccer Mommy producer Gabe Wax to helm their first LP. They released the ethereal and hypnotic Jinx earlier this year as they had with their previous recordings: independently on their own record label, sans management and booking agents. Ramani’s ethereal vocals glide over luminous guitar and floating bass lines, amplify the album’s dreamy mood. “Last night I laid my head down and felt the demons again” she echoes over the mid-album spellbinder “The Letter.” Beyond their relaxed, heady vibes, Crumb’s songs possess an intense and alluring gravity that lulls the listener into deeper, more contemplative realms.

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