Last year I reviewed Under the Aether by Nicolas Kröger. On that record he attempts the sad singer/songwriter vibe that has run rampant on sites like Bandcamp every since an audio interface and a laptop became affordable. His latest A Garden of Some Sort is more or less a continuation of his first record with a little better delivery.
Kröger’s lyrics make him or whoever he is referring to in the songs be a hopeless romantic whose broken tortured soul can never find solace. The album puts the spotlight on him. His feeling, his perceptions and his pain. The thing he hasn’t quite figured out yet is how to make the listener empathize with his struggles. Telling a story from a third party perspective and introducing some ambiguity to his songs might be a good start. Instead the songs come off as he is looking for sympathy. As if he wants the audience to recognize his sadness and loneliness. This EP feels very solitary - a parochial vision of one person's perspective.
To his credit there is some decent songwriting that manifests itself with simple chord progressions. As for his singing - I can say it fits the songs. He comes close to sounding like he is going to break down on occasion. His voice often shivers.
He opens with “Morning Coffee” which is one of the better songs on the album. The song is about as upbeat as he gets and there are some decent melodies on this track. I thought the piano was a nice touch.
The next song “Solomon's Men” is where it really feels like he is trying a little bit too hard to make you care about his sadness. The song at least what I took away from it is about how he is basically obsessed with some girl and has no idea what to say to her. He sings, “I wake up lonely / With nothing next to me / But some paper and some dirty sheets. / And I wander aimlessly, / Hoping we may meet. But I don't know what I'd say.” The only thing I get from these lines is that he needs to do laundry and really needs to pick up his confidence and self-esteem.
His self-deprecating message is reinforced on “Cunégonde.” He sings, “But why would you love me? I'm dirty and poor, I'm fractured and broken and torn up inside. And why would you love me? I'm a cynical bastard, I'm a calloused and bitter, unattractive boy.” It sounds to me like the person in the song needs to attend a Tony Robbins conference. At the very least listen to motivational messages. You don't have to be bitter and callous. Maybe if you change those things about yourself maybe she will like you.
Truth be told I have no idea if this EP is biographical. This could or could not be a reflection of Kröger’s own feelings and experiences. The EP feels like a young man who had a bitter break up and spends way too much time in his own head There is a line by Henry Thoreau - “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I’d say that line has some truth but resonates most with younger men in their 20’s for a myriad of reasons.
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