Crumb, “AMAMA”

On their third LP, the Brooklyn-based quartet continues to experiment with rhythm as they find their niche within the neo-psych space.

Crumb, AMAMA

On their third LP, the Brooklyn-based quartet continues to experiment with rhythm as they find their niche within the neo-psych space.

Words: Juan Gutierrez

May 17, 2024


Crumb has been grinding out psych-rock gems since 2016 when the group was still in college. Eight years later, their growth is front and center on their third album AMAMA. The group has found its niche within the neo-psych space, creating complex and unique melodies and progressions, marinating it all with vocalist Lila Ramani’s abstract and emotional lyrics. You can hear the group experimenting more with rhythm on AMAMA than on previous albums—compared to 2019’s Jinx, AMAMA feels more lush, complex, and energetic. The production feels more polished, but not at the expense of the band’s sound as they dabble with elements of prog and electronic music while still indulging in their psychedelic dispositions. 

However, beneath the deceptively sweet ear candy is a complex narrative world peeking through the veneer. On “Crushxd,” Ramani contemplates the death of a turtle that the band’s tour bus accidentally ran over in 2018, while earlier on “Side by Side” she sings of her tendency to lose herself in others to the point of self-degradation. It’s the chaotic and inarticulable Lacanian Real breaking through the seams of the saccharine symbolic world Ramani creates. It’s often unclear what she’s specifically singing about, as her lyrics can be quite abstract, but there’s a clear tension between senses of alienation and connection. 

The final song “XXX” seems to resolve this tension, though. Ramani describes feeling at home and secure with a significant other with implications of sexual intimacy. It also showcases where this album’s strength lies: rhythm. The song starts with a bare-bones instrumental and ends with a cathartic percussion-infused finale. Yet “Dust Bunny” is the record’s most adventurous song, as the band plays with rhythm in satisfying ways that defy expectations. It starts with a catchy groove that has a similitude with the en-vogue drum and bass sound. But the coup de grace is on the latter half of the track where percussionist Jonathan Gilad changes up the beat, creating a euphoric and interesting finale to the song. 

Throughout the record you can hear bits and pieces of old and new influences in their music, though Crumb’s indebtedness to Melody’s Echo Chamber still stands out. In conversation with Melody Prochet on the Talkhouse Podcast Ramani recently shared that Prochet’s music was very influential to the group and in constant rotation while Crumb was recording their first EP back in 2016, seven years prior to the band’s collaboration with Prochet on last year’s dream-pop single “Le Temple Volant.”

In all, AMAMA is a solid follow-up to 2021’s engrossing Ice Melt, showcasing the group’s more adventurous side and their growth as musicians while providing a testament to their artistry and ability to create something more complex than what may initially meet the ear.