Pairing skippy music with relatively sad-sack lyrics has always been one of indie-pop’s favorite tricks, a clever way to ring out bad feelings in song without sounding like a total mope. Sometimes, however, just giving in and embracing your gloom can be OK. Nagoya trio Crunch has created plenty of up-tempo numbers over the past two years, but new EP “Blue Blue Blue” finds it slowing down and letting the longing flow without any filters, the end result being a direct and brutally honest collection.
Crunch spends the EP’s brief run time embracing melancholy, frequently bringing up the titular color as a stand in for feeling alone — whether comparing someone’s absence to the ocean (“Mermaid in the Sea”) or mentioning the clear sky, which can no longer be enjoyed alone (“Passing Shower”). The music matches the solitary vibe perfectly, the band opting for a sparseness that allows lead singer Noriyo Hotta’s words to hang in the air and lets their full emotional impact sink in. That’s highlighted best on “Blue,” the most bare-bones song here and one made all the chillier by well-placed bell chimes. This approach makes for a wonderful soundtrack for the last few cold weeks of a lonely winter — if that’s what you’re in need of.
Crunch’s “Blue Blue Blue” is available for download via the band’s BandCamp site at crunchjp.bandcamp.com/album/blue-blue-blue. The album is also available via online streaming services.