Crumb’s sound has always been a little sleepy. On the Brooklyn band’s two EPs and one album to date, their songs have gently rolled along in a haze that disguises the subtle complexities of their composition. Much like a dream, Crumb’s music is calm on the surface but ever-shifting and occasionally a little dark the deeper you go.
Fans of that somnambulant take on psychedelia won’t be disappointed by their second album Ice Melt. Self-released, as with all their projects to date, on the band’s Crumb Records, it’s an expansion rather than a reinvention of the group’s woozy style.
Opening track ‘Up & Down’ introduces the shift; the songwriting is crisper, the production cleaner. The haze of their debut is still there but now punchy synths and pointy guitars cut through it, contrasting singer Lila Ramani’s blissed-out vocals.
Meanwhile, lead single ‘Trophy’ flits between soft grooves and fuzzy riffs that nod at grunge as Ramani’s lyrics delicately tell the melancholic tale of a “deadbeat tour loner.” It’s tracks like ‘Gone’ and ‘Balloon’ – where Crumb push a little more at their sound – that are the album’s highlights though. The former opens with overlaid snippets of robotic speech before turning unsettlingly sweet, while the latter is all spiralling keys and marching drums, coming together for the most danceable track in the band’s discography.
Ice Melt is the sound of Crumb thawing out, getting a little bolder as the sun warms their skin, full of hidden details that hint at where they might go next.
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