Crumb rejuvenates indie rock on debut album ‘Jinx’

Matt Campbell

If My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” was the sound of menacing insomnia, Crumb’s “Jinx” is a voice that slowly ushers you to transcend reality and submit to the forces of its façade of hazy innocence that covers up an intense underlying anxiety.

In the over-saturated market of atmospheric, “aesthetic” indie-pop, it is difficult to find artists that offer a convincingly different sound and legitimate sense of dysphoric anxiety as potent as the New York-based Crumb’s full-length debut, “Jinx.” The album feels lethargic, anxious and fills the room full of a blurry sweetness that builds better incarnations of the over-used archetypes of bedroom or indie-pop. Vibrato-soaked guitars, reverberated vocals and eerie synthesizers build the unique sound of “Jinx.” Apprehensive vocal passages punctuate ambient breaks of dreamy guitar chords and thick synth leads on this acid-tinged album that seems straight out of a college dorm room trip.

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Nothing about Crumb’s performance on “Jinx” seems phoned-in, despite the intentional apathy that seems to come from many of the artists pioneering this new wave of bedroom pop. The album begins with “Cracking,” a slow tune that shifts between lead singer Lila Ramani’s haunting lyrics about personal stability and wiggly guitar lines. Eventually, it gives way to a reverb-soaked horn solo from synth and sax player Brian Aronow to lead the track into a slow fade out, setting the tone for the rest of the album.

Crumb will be coming to the Ogden Theatre Sept. 23 on their headlining tour in support of “Jinx” with Divino Niño and Shormey.

“Ghostride” features jazz-inflected arpeggiated major chords that cement Crumb’s unique ability to bring together genres that are not normally associated with the short, three-minute pop songs. “Letter” begins with a siren-esque vocal melody over phased-out, anxiety-inducing guitar parts before giving way to a trippy tune whose frame stands upon drummer Jonathan Gilad’s creative and math-rock/jazz inflected drum beat. 

As the album draws to a close, the world-weary atmosphere of the album comes into full effect with the minimalist “And It Never Ends” and the title track “Jinx,” both offering a glimpse into the band’s psyche.

On “Jinx,” Crumb manages to create a truly authentic and thoroughly anxious album that seems better fitted for a 3 a.m. dissociative episode than an ill-advised Tinder date with the guy down the hall in the light-blue jeans and thrifted Marlboro cap. “Jinx” fills the room full of a haze that only begins to clear in the last few seconds of the record. Despite only being 27 minutes long, “Jinx” is a journey. It is an album that takes your hand and leads you on a warm and fuzzy trip that invokes an underlying sense of pure anxiety. Crumb is a band that is doing everything right. They are determined, focused, intelligent and above all, ambitious. “Jinx” is sure to be an album that will serve as a highlight in an over-saturated market and sit as one of the best indie records of 2019. 

Crumb will be coming to the Ogden Theatre Sept. 23 on their headlining tour in support of “Jinx” with Divino Niño and Shormey. Listeners who enjoy Crumb may also look into Men I Trust, Reptaliens, Turnover and Slow Pulp. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Matt Campbell can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.