AMAMA by Crumb album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions. The band's full-length is now out via Crumb records and DSPs




Oftentimes, art and life line up in meaningful ways, the hope of the artist and the benefit of the viewer/listener. This week, when I arrived to dog sit for my father and his wife, I got a phone call. My dad had run over a box turtle in the driveway and he asked if I could clean it up, before my dog got out in the yard. He was understandably upset, and the image of the turtle and its crushed shell will always stick with me.

Crumb, the psycho-pop band out of New York, who recall great atmospheric bands like Stereo Lab and Beach House, wrote their latest album AMAMA mostly from experiences that they had, touring and playing their music live in recent years. The song “Crushxd,” in particular, is a song about a turtle they ran over with their band van, and it is a fitting tribute to a meaningful life that they took, by accident. “I’ll never see you here again.”

Crumb’s music and the almost indecipherable lyrics (which recall the Cocteau Twins) certainly stand on their own as evocative and exemplary. But lead singer, Lila Ramani’s words, sometimes about her namesake, her grandmother, “AMAMA,” the spiritual centerpiece of the album, or her ruminations on bug bites (“But my wings won’t open wide / while the bug stays on my mind”), draw you into a vivd world of genies and foreign cities and love’s sometimes painful requirements.

It’s one of their most playful and open-hearted releases to date, and it offers plenty of opportunity to move the heart and the body. The synths, which work overtime on the record, and the jazz-inspired drums, by Jonathan Gilad, the tasty guitars, which oftentimes echo the vocals of Ramani to thrilling effect, everything about the musical palette of this record is satisfying to the ears and to the soul.

It’s twelve songs, with a few short instrumentals, and while it goes by quickly, it presents you with a whole world of reflection and beauty fit for a band long in the game. “I change myself, degrade my health / for you, for you, / so you can keep on doing well,” they sing about the grueling experience of touring for their fans. They are band committed to the internal world made external, bringing our dream world to life, through their instruments adeptly played and songs wonderfully composed. It is an atmospheric record and creates an atmosphere of hope that’s not devoid of life’s realism.

Order AMAMA by Crumb HERE


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