Album Review: Kramies delivers bewitching melancholy on debut album


Singer-songwriter Kramies drops his new, self-titled album, an eight-track collection of dreamy soundscapes and storybook lyricism.

An array of talented guests appears on the album, including Patrick Carney of The Black Keys, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Tyler Ramsey of Band of Horses, and Train’s Jerry Becker, along with Jim Bogis, whose resume comprises Stevie Nicks and Counting Crows.

Kramies, which is pronounced ‘Kraim-iss,’ has shared the stage with Spiritualized, Yo La Tengo, and Calexico, while his music had received multiple awards, from Song of the Year to EP of the Year.

The album begins with “DAYS OF,” which rolls out on sighing, melancholic tones riding a measured rhythm. As the music expands, it presents a glowing, resonant wall of sound. Kramies’ wistful voice imbues the lyrics with aching nostalgia.

Entry points include “HOTEL IN LA,” a slowly undulating, mist-filled tune that drifts and wafts across the landscape like morning fog. Kramies’ vocals seemingly float in the midst of the vaporous leitmotifs. “OHIO I’LL BE FINE,” travels on gleaming, swaying layers of piano, strings, guitars, and a banjo. The percussion on this track is superbly finessed – rumbling yet subtle. There’s a raw, yearning quality to Kramies’ voice, a feeling of loneliness and want.

Perhaps the best song on the album, “OWL AND THE CROW” features coasting, wandering washes of sound, dripping with forlorn savors.

Talking about “OWL AND THE CROW, Kramies shares, “I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to say this before, because I can’t really understand completely how I process things without relying heavily on the emotions I use to create everything, but ‘Owl and the Crow’ is one of the songs on the LP that means the most to me.”

He goes on, adding, “For one of the first times in my life I recognize instantly where the story and emotion from this song comes from. I rarely remember anything that isn’t emotionally heightened, if something doesn’t carry bits of historic emotional imagery then I don’t really care about it or remember it. This song has stayed with me. There are a few unspoken landmarks on this LP for me and ‘Owl and the Crow’ is one of them.”


The last track, “4.44am,” sails on gentle, breath-like textures as Kramies’ soft tones infuse the song with deep despondency.

Oozing profound emotions, Kramies delivers bewitching melancholy along with a sense of imminence.

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