Review: Kramies – The Wooden Heart

Kramies Windt received well-deserved plaudits for his previous EP ‘The European’, which blended his powerful and heartfelt vocals with some sublime atmospheric arrangements. No doubt impressed by his previous work, Windt has now enlisted the talents of Grandaddy’s Jason Lyttle as well as Guided By Voices’ producer Todd Tobias for ‘The Wooden Heart’ EP. A smart move too as what we have here is an exemplar in ambient pop/dreampop.

Kramies EP Cover

‘The Beginning’ and ‘The Ending’ form the elegant, stripped-back bookends, modest in arrangement compared to what is to follow but ‘Sea Otter Cottage’ is the first sighting of the epic nature of the new production team. All manner of electronic layers merge here but its the acoustic strumming and Windt’s always appealing voice which stand out the most. For his last release, I compared this artist with Pony Club and that similarity is particularly apparent on ‘Upon The Northern Skies’ where Windt cuts a lonely isolated figure backed by an eerie, foreboding shimmer. However, for the superb title track, all the elements combine and reverberate perfectly. In lesser hands one would say it’s been over-produced but it’s no exaggeration to say the song sounds like a John Lennon number. ‘Clocks Were All Broken’ possesses a possible Beatles influence too and is reminiscent of Paul McCartney’s ‘Once Upon A Long Ago’ in terms of melody and childlike wonder.

Granted, with technology now readily available to those on even the most limited of budgets, it’s possible to emulate ELO from your own bedroom. However, there is no substitute for talent and Windt, Lyttle and Tobias all provide sterling contributions to turn what could have been a self-indulgent folly into a kaleidoscopic, fantastic story. The only criticism is that this wonderful music is over in twenty one minutes.

Web Sites:
Hidden Shoal Recordings Label and Shop Site
Video of Kramies – Sea Otter Cottage

Further Listening:
Pony Club, John Lennon, Paul McCartney

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