Published Feb 25, 2020It is easy to be fooled by the chill, laidback sounds of Kevin Krauter's music, with its breezy and looping riffs that underscore disarmingly introspective and at-times anxious lyrics. Krauter has always been adept at writing songs that sound like a summer evening, like a warm breeze at twilight or late afternoon sunlight streaming in a window. Yet a sense of unease pervades their lyrics, creating an odd tension at the centre of these relaxed, dreamy tunes.
On Full Hand, Krauter builds upon the themes and musical motifs of their previous LP, Toss Up, on which they meditated on loneliness and desire atop catchy indie pop riffs. Krauter brings a lightness to heavy, serious topics: existential uncertainty in "How" ("Is that me at the wheel on a highway on the Earth?"); sexuality in "Pretty Boy"; and religion in "Surprise" ("I don't wanna believe in a new communion/Pour out the wine taste the blood in my breath").
The lightness in their voice and the music offers the sense that there is joy to be found even when faced with the difficulties of growing up. The phrase "full hand" implies success (a poker metaphor!) but also the weight of responsibility, of having one's hands full. This is the perfect title for an album that sounds self-assured and confident ("Smiling at what used to stress me out") yet also sceptical and anxious ("Sweat on the glass burning holes in my hand"). This is perhaps Krauter's best work yet, as their artistic project comes into sharper focus. (Bayonet)