“American singer-songwriter Kramies has a career spanning almost fifteen years with a long string of releases that have earned him the title of ‘the dream-pop troubadour.’ The new album sees Kramies grow even more comfortable with his own unique way of working as he calls on an impressive array of special guests that includes Patrick Carney (The Black Keys), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Tyler Ramsey (Band Of Horses), Jerry Becker (Train), and Jim Bogis (Counting Crows/Stevie Nicks).
What’s more impressive is how they all fit onto and in between eight tracks and provide some sort of identity continuity to the eight alternative and dreamy folk style that make up the album. Not straying too far from the comfort zone of the signature dreamy lyrical landscapes he has become known for, Kramies explains how:
“The songs seem to all come from different time periods, the production is all unique to each piece, the songs were created in all sorts of strange ways and the lyrics are emotionally in different spaces — yet it all came together and all makes sense. It’s just like a scrapbook of photos: some pictures are old, some are faded and some are detailed, but in the end, just holding the book brings a feeling of personal history that’s been all wrapped up.”
Stories of death and addiction and a healthy shot of nostalgia sit amidst untold chapters from his own story to date. Emotionally charged for sure, wringing out every drop of emotion and angst with engaging melodies and glimmering dream-pop themes that take us back to moments and feelings lost somewhere in time. Opening piece, Days Of sets the tone with an increasing intensity, followed by a stark and distant Horses To Maine, the latter erring towards a languid and musing ambience, bizarrely bringing to mind some Roger Waters stylings including an unexpected profanity, although the glittering tuned percussion might be a step too far for Rog. Not too long though before the cresencendo creeps up in a familiar fashion.
The creation of vast soundscapes vies for the attention with the intimate, the up-close and personal. The shift of perspective from Shitty Hotel In LA to Ohio I’ll Be Fine a classic example, until the latter is enhanced by a grand string part that provides the swell of an uplifting moment. It concludes what would be the old side one yet the flow continues its passage into the second half as You’d Be The Fall drifts and breaks in gentle waves, leading into a sequence where the mood is fully epitomised by the song and title 4.44am. It’s music that’s made for that time of day.
To say that Kramies highlights the attention to detail and the fragility that you get with anything by Tim Bowness and the understated songwriting quality of Nick Drake is compliment enough for a classy and beautifully crafted album.”