Crumb – Jinx

Psychedelic pop, but not as you know it. Jinx is the product of experimentation and the refinement of a wholly authentic voice. Crumb have delivered a beguiling, sometimes bewildering beauty that leaves with as many questions as it delivers answers.

Infectious riffs spiral around melodies. It’s hard to place the affect of a song like ‘Fall Down’ – it’s multi-layered production that allows for simple sedimentary layers to build into something quite complex, quite wonderful. But there are many moments like this throughout the album of natural and synthesized explorations.

The scale of songwriter Lila Ramani’s focus is not small. Her lyrics reach in and out with confident intimacy. The radical vulnerability that’s shared on a track like ‘Nina’ is almost heartbreaking. The scope of this tonal approach, of laying bare the honest exposure of an unknown is supported with nuanced musicianship from Brian Aronow, Jonathan Gilad, and Jesse Brotter on synth, keys, sax, drums, and bass. Melodies are not so much dismantled as passed through a soft-focus kaleidoscope.

There are moments of genuine light and breeze. The immediate appeal that Crumb bring produces a crispness which is seldom experienced in experimental music of this sort. Production-wise this is an album that prefers mist over clarity. Light becomes pastel, and whilst there are clear lines, perspectives of tracks like “Ghostride” bend beyond the far horizon.

For all the expansive sounds and exploration that Crumb clearly enjoy, at heart it’s the intimacy, and human-scaled of things that makes Jinx such a rewarding album. Ramani sings with a voice that draws in the ear. She delivers a line like “You make it easy….” and suddenly the world stops.

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