CRUMB – ” Ice Melt “

Posted: July 24, 2021 in MUSIC

Crumb’s second album, Ice Melt, takes its name from the coarse blend of salts that you can buy from your local hardware store for $9.99. When sprinkled on your wintry steps, this mixture absorbs water and gives off heat, transforming the ice into a viscous, briney slush and, eventually, nothing at all. Beginning with the dynamic chaos of “Up & Down,” and ending with Crumb’s closest thing to a lullaby, Ice Melt’s ten tracks combine, like ice sculptures melting into a glistening puddle.

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. 

From the start, the group knew that cohesion was best achieved through plumbing their individual strengths— frontwoman Lila Ramani’s earliest song writing, which catalyzed the group’s first two EPs; Bri Aronow’s knack for building (dis)affecting soundscapes; the hypnotic grounding of Jonathan Gilad’s drums, a Crumb mainstay; and Jesse Brotter’s distinctive bass playing, which subtly traces Ramani’s vocal melodies while providing an unrelenting pulse. These collective skills make Crumb a project of independent self-discovery, four creative minds converging around an idea that is always shifting and reforming.

Convening in Los Angeles to work with producer Jonathan Rado, Crumb tapped into atmosphere-creation like never before, building experimental compositions that are at turns head-nodding and surrealist, energetic and euphoric. Ramani characterizes the album as a “return back down to earth,” a deeply felt examination of “real substances and beings that live on this planet.” It is also the cultivation of road-worn musicians exploring brand-new sounds and thematic concepts, pushing themselves into territory they could never have anticipated five years ago.

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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