Boston-formed Crumb’s breakthrough came with ‘Locket’, a surreal, psychedelic track from an EP of the same name which mixed sonic textures and tempos with wide-eyed playfulness. Their full-length debut ‘Jinx’ which followed in 2019 was just as trippy and colourful, an adventure to enjoy getting lost in.
‘Ice Melt’ struggles to reach the same bright heights as its predecessor. From the off, it’s simply boring: ‘Up & Down’ has the bones of a great alt-pop song – its chorus melody is lush and intoxicating – but its fidgety percussion and abrupt breakdown totally kill any momentum it ought to have as the opening cut. ‘BNR’ feels just as stunted; lolling along with little direction or meaning, it’s completely skippable.
This theme continues for most of the record. ‘Retreat!’ has some spring in its step but still feels like part of a homogenised bulk of noise that’s not nearly intricate enough to summon the joy ‘Jinx’ did, nor dissonant enough to work on an ambient level. And it’s a shame. This outfit are tight, and with Jonathan Rado on production duties (Father John Misty, The Lemon Twigs) you’d expect warmer tones from these songs which broadly sound cold and sterile. Perhaps the main issue is vocalist Lila Ramani who expresses no discernible emotion on a single track.
There are a couple of sweet spots on ‘Ice Melt’ in the form of the shimmering ‘Balloon’ and the creamy ending title-track, but not enough to warrant a whole album’s worth of material from what could have easily been shaved down to an EP.
More like this
And they’re sharing a live performance video to get us hyped.
Set for release later this month.
Listen to ‘Balloon’ and ‘BNR’ now.
It’s the Brooklyn band’s first new material since 2019.