Chanell Crichlow elevates her solo work to new heights on the title track off her sonically adventurous new album
tubafresh is the solo work of Chanell Crichlow, also known as the leader of PitchBlak Brass Band, which dubs itself “Brooklyn’s Hip Hop Brass Band.” PitchBlak – currently on hiatus – blends a horn section and marching drums with MCs and electronic elements, an endlessly inventive setup in comparison to their peers in the brass band and hip hop worlds, With tubafresh, Crichlow has proven herself equally fearless, adapting her skills with horns, arranging, and songwriting to pop, R&B, and experimental tracks. Her debut tape, 2016’s Just Another Night, was a wonderful, lo-fi landscape full of compelling sounds and tight songs. The upcoming record Extra Syrup, self-released April 3, takes these elements to another level. The complex instrumentation and arrangements are still there, such as on first single “Same Poison,” but the production is now fuller and bolder. Crichlow’s voice comes through strong, clear, and with more personality. It all feels like a fully realized culmination of Crichlow’s solo and group work. These songs have a broad appeal across genre and should raise her to the wide culture acclaim she’s long deserved.
Today tubafresh gives us the record’s second single, the title track “Extra Syrup.” We start off with a psychedelic warble before Crichlow enters with her strongest vocal performance to date. She says the song is about “Reaching out to your past love(r) who knows you best to share a moment of truth with no frills and coating because you both can just be real with each other and are accepted.” The singalong chorus hits that home as she gets into the higher register: “I need that extra syrup / All up till my cup is fulled up / I need that butter undone / So sweet got my pressure on up.”
The record as a whole centers on these themes of finding acceptance, of discovering health and peace. Crichlow says some tracks address finding a healthier lifestyle, especially after “learning about the food industry and how people of color and poor people are being constantly manipulated and lied to.” Those issues have hit close to home since Crichlow’s grandmother passed away a year ago from diabetes complications. “She was the glue to my entire family and it was and still is a huge struggle for us,” she explains. “It’s like we are all lost without her. I needed to let her know that we are gonna find a way to heal somehow but we are still searching for the way.” It speaks volumes to Crichlow’s artistic skill that she has produced such a musically forward record while focused on these themes of comfort, pain, and healing.
Go pre-order the record now and catch tubafresh on tour: