Twitch by James Kruman – Album Review

twitch james kruman album logo

by Matt Callard

All these kids, sat in damp bedrooms fiddling with gadgets and battered instruments and Pro Tools, or whatever the hell it is they fiddle with these days – they’re the future, you know.

twitch james kruman cover artworkSo while James Kruman’s esoteric, unclassifiable debut Twitch does lots of things that frustrate, occasionally infuriate, you still see the buds taking hold and, occasionally, blooming.

With this scratchy, flailing, wilfully abstruse release, there’s just enough promise to give you hope for the future. And therein lies a wonderful thing.

Frustrating? Because it doesn’t start until track three. Opener ‘Barrel Bomb’ is a noisy, fuzzy fragment which might work as an attention-grabber live, but on album it’s like a overlong preamble to a longed-for feast. Second track ‘Like a TV Ad’ adds a military stomp to a deliberately monotonous lyrical refrain (“When I die young/They will name a gun after me“), but it’s hardly aural ear candy.

“Startling effect”

twitch by james kruman reviewThen there’s Kruman’s delivery – an odd, over-enunciated, sometimes charmless hybrid of Julian Cope, Syd Barrett and Vic Reeves, which might work on the snaky, insidious ‘Mahalo Mahayo’, but it ruins the otherwise gentle and pretty ‘Julia’ and comes across as sheer parody on the psych-folk referencing ‘Country Sigh’.

‘When The Darkness Comes’ proves there’s a delicious songwriter in the eclectic mix, channelling Cope’s elegant ‘Pristeen’ from his Peggy Suicide magnum opus all the way from hook to phrasing.

‘The Aviator’ adds neat harmonica and crunch chords to trad folk with startling effect and the multi-layered, synth-laden ‘Suicide Song’ is genuinely affecting.

Better than promising, then. The future’s bright here, at least.


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