Crumb makes music that’s subtly psychedelic, as casually trippy as a micro-dose of LSD. On its recent EP, Locket, the Brooklyn quartet offers four songs that use indie rock as a gateway for more expansive sounds, continuing the heavily-detailed miniaturist mode that drew attention to their 2016 self-titled debut EP.
Psychedelia at its best works as a synthesis of opposites; happy contradictions animate Crumb’s work. The group is fronted by singer and guitarist Lila Ramani, whose unhurried delivery communicates a certain restlessness, as she leads her bandmates through intimate territory that seems emotionally vast. On the title track, for instance, she describes the effect that precipitation has on her emotional state: “Every time it rains,” Ramani sings, “I can feel my brain is moving, back and forth, upside down, east-west.”
The music on Locket bucks against the claustrophobia of the lyrics, with meaty bass from Jesse Brotter and myriad flourishes from Brian Aronow, who plays a variety of instruments in service of the record’s quiet sonic diversity. It feels like a milder version of Tame Impala’s reverberating guitar, bass and synth combos, or a slightly more cheerful echo of Whitney’s melancholy Americana.
And Ramani, whose lyrics hint at heartbreak, is a remarkably easygoing vocalist, her voice winding its way around the riffage. On “Thirty-Nine,” she casually prompts the band to let loose with one of several killer instrumental breaks, singing deadpan, “I hope they’re ready for the hot, crispy sound.” That’s all it takes for the rest of the group to join in, with all the relaxed proficiency for which it’s becoming known.