Music Reviews
Crumble Blue

Coastal Crumble Blue

(Self-Released) Buy it from Insound Rating - 6/10

The journey of how Coastal (moniker of musican/producer Paul J. Fox) arrived at this point consists of a ten-year tenure from the age of 12 in a Belfast act called Imperial Blether; a shambolic period of solo performances while living in Glasgow followed by 2 years drumming with another Belfast band, Kitty and the Can Openers before a ‘breakdown of sorts’ and ultimately this, his bedroom project, Coastal; a considerable amount of tread worn from the tyres of a man just 25 years old.

Most ‘home-recording’, basement/bedroom type records tend to be synonymous with (sometimes deliberate) poor production, lo-fi sounds and rather unpolished songs. Crumble Blue has none of these ‘qualities’, and actually presents itself as something quite beyond its means. There are five tracks of impeccably produced, delicate, mystifying atmospheres and tangibly considered, affecting songs.

There’s an ambience that delves deep into some submerged dimension that is saturated with piercing yet caressing guitar parts that never seem to weigh it down. Moreover, on Heart of Tin, your mind begins to float along with the prominent groove that brings an uplifting asset to an otherwise subdued, cathartic ode of want. And really, that’s where this EP takes you. It’s a singer-songwriter with greater ambition to surround his revealing compositions with layers of design that remain simplistic in isolation but complete in their amalgamation. The liquid metaphor of his sound instigates the essence of journey in your mind and you’re guided through areas of sinister refrain such as on Night Moth, to the opposite twinkling, surf-tinged melodrama of Black Stars/Flash Cars and The 90’s with the more optimistic To The End Of displaying a further caress of harmonic pleasure.

Where this EP excels is within a consciousness that summons mood and heavy emotion-laden tales of personal woe, which he seems to have many. There is, however, a desperate desire to emaciate his persona with references of drug dependency that are evident within his lyrics (‘I’m gonna take a fuck-load of tablets, and stay out of it for a while…I’m waiting to come down from the tablets, and then I’m gonna swallow some more’) as well as his official bio which describes the music as ‘Visions of the void through a slightly debilitating morphine haze.’(slightly debilitating!) These may be true descriptions, or truths of his life, but it diverts attention away from the truly interesting portals of his music, of which drug related lyrics really aren’t.

As far as I can conceive, he stands fairly isolated as far as British surfer music goes and it’s by no means a desperate plunge of imagination. He adds to the genre in a way that is slightly more melancholic but endlessly uplifting, blending a perhaps more classic song-writing attribute with an arrangement of sounds that remain interesting for many-a-visit. Coastal is the project of one man in his bedroom spanning atmospheres of the universe with his music.

Listen to the EP here;