Crumb: AMAMA (Crumb Records) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Crumb Records

May 16, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

AMAMA, the new record from New York collective Crumb, is another beguiling chunk of spacey psych-pop, a continuation of their playful experimentation with genre and the possibilities of sound. It is also a deceptively candid examination of the sacrifices and surreal moments that come with life on the road.

Crumb’s chilly, cerebral aesthetic seems at times to defy categorization; they are nothing if not playful sonic architects. There is a jazz-like airiness in their sound, a sense of vague abstraction. But while the songs often seem to be emotionally distant, floating just beyond reach, this can be deceptive; singer and multi-instrumentalist Lila Ramani has a knack for the kind of disarming phrase that pulls everything sharply into focus.

She can also locate the surreal undertone of a seemingly everyday event, a quality that meshes perfectly with the otherworldly soundscapes she creates with bandmates Bri Aronow (keyboards and saxophone), Jesse Brotter (bass), and Jonathan Gilad (drums). You hear it in the off-kilter tribute to a turtle accidentally rendered roadkill by a tour van (“Crushxd”), where the band maintains a delicate time signature with a silvery ride cymbal and billowy keys before a jagged guitar shatters all restraint. It’s there again in “The Bug,” where Ramani ponders the symbolism of an insect’s bite over eerie, almost dissonant chorus chords and an abrupt outro that matches her distorted vocal with a kind of robot keyboard.

But it’s Ramani’s simple wishes and unadorned observations that often carry the most weight. In the opening track, “From Outside a Window Sill,” she yearns for a base that will provide respite from her nomadic life: “Home is what I want and what I need.” She seems to find what she’s looking for in album closer “XXX”; over a fuzzy programmed beat and darkly churning keys she addresses a lover in a Polaroid snapshot of domestic bliss: “isn’t this as good as it can get.” (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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