Alex Krawczyk “Le Olam” (LP) 

“I wanted you to know / If you choose to know, there is time for a change / It is written in your soul,” pleads Alex Krawczyk in the powerful “Remember,” one of my favorite songs from her new album Le Olam. Krawczyk’s lyrical protagonist is desperate to get through to someone, and instead of utilizing a fractured vocal to emphasize her emotion, she’s using a broken harmony as fragile as it is breathtaking when we’re least expecting it to be. “Remember” is a fine example of her creative reach, and moreover, the poetic strike she can issue with even the simplest of statements.

Krawczyk isn’t just crooning over barebones instrumentation in the same way that a lot of her contemporaries in the new singer/songwriter movement would, but instead giving us a smorgasbord of color in tracks like “Above Water,” the peaceful “As a River Does” and stunning “There Will Be Light.” Some might be quick to describe her instrumental componentry as frilly, but I would argue that there’s too much integration between the background and the lyrical content to ignore the substance formed in each one of these songs. It might be pretty in tone, but Le Olam is still quite the weighty affair.

I think it’s safe to say that Alex Krawczyk has as much disdain for synthetics in her music as I do in general, hence why there isn’t any sonic fluff to step over between the start and finish of “Full Moon Rising,” “Turning,” or “I Will Take You Home.” The mechanics of this record flow organically, and I like the way the tracklist comes together like a complete piece as opposed to chapters of the same book. It’s at times progressive, perhaps more than the mainstream will be able to handle, but Le Olam is anything but a predictable LP.

“Calling My Angels” and “Simple Man” are very different tracks, but their construction definitely connects their aesthetical value more than anything else does. Something in my gut tells me that Krawczyk has a lot more country in her sound than she’s even revealing to us here, particularly in the latter cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s southern rock classic, and if she were to let it loose it might make her appeal even greater to those who wouldn’t normally go for an artist out of the alternative scene. There’s no confusing her for the nuanced Nashville players of today, but the old-school sensibilities of country that she’s embracing in this record are fascinating to appreciate.

You don’t find too many rookie releases that are as complete and soulful as Alex Krawczyk’s Le Olam is, but then again, there really aren’t that many singer/songwriters who have the endless talent she does here. She throws the listener into a world of introspection without warning, but the shock of the cold depths she’s willing to escort us to isn’t as jarring as you might expect it would be. There’s more to understand about her hybrid artistry, and in this LP, she introduces us to a sound I want to hear a lot more of soon.

Mark Druery