Max Crumbs – Maidenhair

For the folks like me trying to put the ROCK back in poptimism, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the metric for deciding what qualifies as “good music” extends further than an album’s capacity to move a dancefloor. The pursuit of primal nirvana, in which inhibitions are peeled away like an apple until all that’s left are the seeds at the core of the self from which all pleasure grows, is a noble one. Yet Max Crumbs’ debut LP Maidenhair, despite its relative placidity, is just as absorbing. 
On record, Crumbs’ builds a cut-and-paste collage of glitchy electronica over predominantly mellowed beats. “Nougat Marathan” almost sounds ready for any aspiring Childish Gambinos looking to spit a cappella over local indie favourites or fans of Clams Casino’s faded production. The album is almost entirely instrumental and the only vocals come in the form of sampled soundbites. On “Yucky Oven” it sounds like it came from some psuedoacademic audiobook about spiritual mysticism spoken by a stern, elderly woman, and the music behind it makes it sound as displaced and unnerving as an induction video for the DHARMA Initiative. 
By Crumbs’ own admission, the live show isn’t exactly dynamite. Speaking to his performance on Record Store Day, he told Mess + Noise he was “hoping people would keep shopping while [he] played.” And yet a friend who saw Crumbs at the Phoenix Public House a couple weeks ago described him as “rockin’ out.” Who to believe – the self-deprecating artist or the effusive audience? (Find out for yourself at the Worker’s Club tomorrow (the 17th) when he plays SYN Approved.) Regardless, Maidenhair is entrancing and terrifically easy to get lost in. 
by Jake Cleland

May 16th 2012
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