Photo: Salim Garcia
While I've never been cool enough to be a place in my life where I was recreationally taking LSD (having never been invited to Burning Man or lived through the '70s), I would imagine it would be akin to the transcendent feeling one gets when letting a Crumb record spin on repeat. The collaborative project of Brooklyn-based musicians Lila Ramani, Brian Aronow, Jesse Brotter, and Jonathan Gilad, the psych-rock jazz band creates music that is a universe unto its own, and with their impeccable debut, they let you adrift in their crafted cosmic expanse.
Jinx, in many ways, feels like the embodiment of what Crumb has been striving to achieve since releasing their first collection of songs in 2016. Throughout its ten hazy tracks, most of which sit comfortably in the two-minute range, the Brooklyn-based band position themselves as masters of manifesting a sense of atmosphere, at times unsettling and at times divine. For to prescribe Jinx as effortlessly chill or simply serene would be to do Crumb a disservice; this is an album that favors setting out on a dark, often unventured path whose many sprawling twists and offshoots leads to its best and most unexpected moments.
Even when Crumb is most cognizant of their potential of pop-leaning psych rock greatness, à la Tame Impala, the band maintains their distinctively mystifying off-kilter approach. It is for this exact reason that "Fall Down," with its allusions to sex in the dead of summer and its sudden lack of payoff, can exist alongside a track like "And It Never Ends, a dissociative nightmare that sonically plays out like a psychedelic daydream.
Through all its awe-inspiring instrumental feats and lyrically-driven mood shifts, Crumb's debut arrives as their finest collection of work to date and quite possibly one of the best psych-rock jazz projects of recent memory.
Listen to Jinx below: