2014 is a busy year for Ben Kramer. In the summer he released his debut EP "Let Go" and in november of this year he drops his 2nd EP: "All The Roses".
The EP has two distinct parts to it that came together unintentionally. The brighter songs opening the record and the moodier songs closing it represents a nice contrast of looking at the same thing in different perspectives. You can pair Sailor and All The Roses, Wayward Love and Colder Tonight and also Brother and The Quickest Bird within this contrast.
Sailor opens the EP and immediately you hear a difference compared to "Let Go". Kramer's vocals come out clearer which is especially clear for the chorus in which Kramer proclaims to be "...whole again..". The build up is a little reminiscent of Bear's Den or Mumford & Sons songs both in instrumentation ebb & flow and vocal arrangement but it absolutely holds its own. On Wayward Love Kramer plays with the rhythm and the timing which makes for a very interesting song which slowly becomes catchier and if the vocals would drown out a little less the chorus would make for a nice sing along part.
Brother is an impressive track. Musically it's kept pretty basic for the most part with a focus on the vocal delivery. It's by no means flawless but it's honest and fragile and it will be felt. And therein lies it's strength. When Kramer sings "...Oh don't tear us apart / Oh run to father's broken heart..." you can reall feel it.
We now enter the moodier part of the record with All The Roses being the counterpart to the opening track. It has a rich arrangement that produces a full sound. On his previous release, Kramer also had one moodier song on which his vocals didn't quite come out as well but only a few months later he shows he is very capable to fit these darker tinged songs to his vocal palette and the title track may very well be my favorite track on this new EP.
"...hold it up, hold up the heart you won tonight.." sings Ben Kramer on Colder Tonight. Well, if he keeps up this quality of songwriting and delivery, he's definitely won me over. Again, Kramer keeps the arrangement fairly subtle and lets his delivery do the talking. Lyrics like "..So I'll let you smile, I'll let them think you're still alright / Because I'm a little colder love, a little colder on my arm tonight..." should speak to almost anyone.
On The Quickest Bird, Kramer picks up the pace a little and while the start of the song comes of a little rushed it finds its groove fairly quickly and settles in to a nice little song. Not the most remarkable one on the record but not a bad song either.
"All The Roses" is a little inconsistent but it delivers on the promise Kramer gave us with "Let Go". Especially All The Roses and Colder Tonight are really good songs. Ben Kramer writes and sings what he feels. Because his sounds and stories come from within they come across as authentic and believable and shy away from becoming cliché. With this EP he won't necessarily garner a massive following but he takes a step towards establishing his name and shows he is honing his craft as a singer-songwriter as we can see him step it up a few notches compared to "Let Go". I'm convinced there's a bright future for this kid if he gets the chance to develop his talent and work with experienced people that can guide him along the way. And here's to hoping he will get that chance because it would be a shame to waste a talent like Ben Kramer.