Crumb has a knack for making you feel like you’re melting: slipping into thin air, vaporizing in the shower, thinning out in the sunlight, somehow leaving your physical form and wandering around somewhere celestial. The four piece, fronted by Lila Ramani, seem to flit between the concrete jungle of New York City and the astral plane. With their debut album Jinx, they once again prove their proficiency at being here one second and gone the next.
With rings around its eyes, Jinx seems to struggle to maintain consciousness. The feeling of being unable to stay anchored in the present persists and automatically comes to the forefront on “Cracking.” That first hit that automatically gets you hooked, “Cracking” makes you realize that even altered states can’t always serve as an escape. With a twinkling guitar and entrancing keys, “Nina” pulls you deeper into isolation, bad habits, and trying to cope but not knowing how. It’s a delusion not a dream, the anxiety that comes from a bad high or staying up too late and starting to see the daylight wake up the city when you’re not quite ready for night to end. Still stuck in that sleepwalking state, “And It Never Ends” falls into those same unbreakable cycles. A makeshift mantra, the repetition becomes exhausting and it feels impossible to snap out of.
Despite the dream-pop and smooth 60s psych, Jinx is easily overwhelmed. Posing as a lullaby, “Ghostride”s steady percussion mimics the “slow beat that rocks me back to sleep,” however, Ramani’s thoughts spiral and jump from the people on the street to a love she’s losing. The lazy lull attempts to hide the uncomfortable realization that the phone ringing and the radio are the only things reminding her she’s alive. Even existing takes effort according to the sweat drenched “Fall Down,” as she admits “you make it easy to feel nothing,” and “someone cry somewhere/fall down, say a prayer;”seeking salvation before you black out, too tired to pray, on your knees only because it’s easier there’s an unnerving energy. This unsettling feeling of trying to break out of a haze continues on “Part III,” as she repeats “it’s just a feeling” but still finds herself trailing off, wasting time, and pinned to her bed skipping in and out.
Trying to resist autopilot and the constant lurking temptation of becoming completely mechanical, “M.R” proves that the incessant heatwaves didn’t leave her completely numb. With zapping synths and a subtle electric buzz, undercut by an intense bassline, the systems seem to glitch. Proving there’s still room for mistakes like “grab you too close,” and misunderstandings “is it the mice on the floor or the pipes in the ground,” there’s once again room for human error. Combating the boredom and all consuming loneliness, “Faces” shows another flash of vulnerability. Confessing “I wanna feel your body when mine ends up cold,” the percussion is steady as a heartbeat, a brief moment of connection that gives a break to the otherwise inescapable dreariness.
A how-to-guide for disappearing, Jinx is simultaneously groovy and dismal. With its whispering vocals and soft approach, it’s as if Ramani is instructing you on the secrets of losing touch. Simultaneously faded out and refreshing, it feels like falling asleep: the slow loss of control up until the all consuming check out that leaves you completely detached.