By Mike Dunn
While the term “folk music” has recently grown incalculably to include the cross pollination of several intermingling styles, at its heart is still the ability of a singer-songwriter to write and perform compelling songs without the aid of a symphony. Though For The Sun, the debut LP from Canmore songwriter Layten Kramer, certainly brings the house in regards to production and instrumentation, his songs remain the focal point, as easily imagined played around a crackling campfire as they are with the lush and energetic treatment they’re given here.
Kicking off with an eerie synth entanglement leading into the delicately fingerpicked title track, Kramer brings a sense of immediacy with his first line, “Have you had enough of this life? Are you growing tired of the lies?” The rhythm section picks up a steady heartbeat, moving quickly to the chorus, which drops amid Beatles-like grandeur and the welcome harmony of horns and synth lines. The second song, “Thin White Lines”, helps the album settle in to what becomes its sonic signature: uptempo folk-pop with stuttery-yet-danceable beats, augmented by synths, and the always hummable lines of a songwriter who knows that having people listen to your words is contingent on connecting to your melody.
For The Sun only touches on its folk elements, certainly on the cantina melancholia of “Shadows”, and on the closer “Time Is Here To Stay.” “Gold and The Sea” is a standout, with dramatic builds, a soaring, harmonized chorus, and a guitar break that understands that a single note played in desperation and conviction adds a lot more than a hundred empty tones.For The Sun, Layten Kramer