Few artists are more gifted at painting the dark, desolate recesses of a man’s soul than James Kruman. Listening to his latest album, ‘Twitch’, is like hiking through the (sometimes delusional) mind of a man trapped on a lonesome island with nothing but a guitar and the clothes on his back. Even the hope of salvation glimpsed in the distance is but a deceitful mirage. ‘Country Sigh’, in which Kruman’s voice echoes in vast solitude, is an accurate microcosm of the 10 songs that make up Twitch. Apart from the box guitar he plucks, it’s hard to place the rest of the instruments in the composition; such is the degree to which they’re experimented with. All you can make out is distant screeching and howling, like the animal sounds that form the background noise in most forests. In the end everything is distorted out of their regular shape, giving you a sense that the world is spinning around you.
Even in seemingly conventional tunes like ‘When The Darkness Comes’, there is a twist that keeps the song from easy classification. With the gritty electric guitar in the background and Kruman’s deadpan vocals, you don’t know whether to call it an alternative rock ballad or a folk song. And the lyrics are equally mysterious: “The Empire is ablaze of corrugated nothing/It keeps us none the wise the future is forgotten/Oh, set me on fire, set me on fire.” You won’t understand everything, but you will feel something very deeply by the time you’ve listened to the 10th cut.
Hailing from the industrial town of Middlesbrough in the North East of England, James Kruman seems to have been influenced heavily by his working-class environment. His unassuming poetry is blended with a quirky fusion of psychedelic rock from the 60s and folk music to create a brutally honest, soul-stirring soliloquy you won’t find elsewhere.
Stream or download Kruman’s December 10 release on Bandcamp.
Miami Based, Internationally Known