Monday, May 24, 2021

Dream-Pop is Finally Back Thanks to Crumb's Ice Melt

Ice Melt is the second full-length album from Crumb. The American indie rockers new record has blown fans away and met their increasing expectations after 2019’s debut album Jinx. Crumb rose to prominence when their single 'Locket' went viral on all streaming platforms, a hard level of success to maintain, but with Ice Melt they have managed it by upping the level of instrumental and vocal consistency along with their iconic beat switches. 

Crumb culminate in the sounds of the 60s and 70s with psychedelic synth-rock, loose jazz, dream pop and casual indie pop. In addition to their surreal instrumentals and muffled yet melodic vocals they have experimented further with modern electronica sounds. The band is a collaboration of Brooklyn-based musicians Lila Ramani (guitar and lead vocals), Jesse Brotter (bass guitar and vocals), Bri Aronow (synthesizer, keyboards and saxophone), and Jonathan Gilad (drums) who met at university. 


The album begins with intriguing track 'Up and Down'. Instrumentals bring justice to the name as we begin with an energetic tone but end the song with a tempo shift to something dark infused with offbeat electronica sounds. The tracks end is reminiscent of solo musical projects from artists like Thom Yorke. Right before the beat shift, the song ends on this memorable note: "In the city or on a farm you won't find what you want//Please go back to where you're from and leave me by myself". The protagonist in the song seems to be a victim of bipolarity, imposed by "her" and is finally able to let it go, here Ramani's honey-dipped vocals make all the difference.


Next is  'BNR' which returns to slow and constant drum beats along with a violin background which only adds to their signature woozy sound. The last 15 seconds reverts to where the song started from as if it is a part of a romantic score. The chorus is simple yet catchy and reveals the abbreviation of the song "Black and Red//My Disease". 


'Trophy' returns to the laid-back throw accompanied by a 4/4 rhythm and a smooth bassline and it is no surprise that it’s the highest streaming song on the album. Lyrics "Take your time 'cause it's all over//You're a deadbeat doll loner//House, car, bed, trophy//Someone there to hold, if only" are poignant. This track talks about the irony of having material possessions and the results of losing them all at once, it is a consolation that highlights the importance we see in having material possessions and the irony that they are only possessions and can be lost at any time.


'Retreat!' and 'Balloon' respectively are not typical Crumb songs. They are upbeat, a tad funky and overall... exciting! Complex drumming patterns and catchy baselines provide a new feel while assessing the album holistically. Psychedelic backtracking techniques have been adopted for the end of 'Balloon' and this is refreshingly unseen previously from Crumb.


The album ends on a mesmerising note with their final and title standout track 'Ice Melt'. Precise synth notes have been selected to enhance the trance effect associated with the track. Intense oxymorons have been used like "Plastic bunnies, metal trees" proving the band as lyrically clever and providing a sense of relaxation and comfort. 


Crumb have proved those wrong who say they lack experimentation by evolving their sound with a bite of dream-pop and psychedelia that no other modern indie band has dared to touch.


Rebanto Roy 

@RebantoR @goodassroy

Image: Official Album Artwork

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