A ninth solo album is no mean achievement; singer-songwriter-guitarist Victor Krummenacher (most often recognized for being a member of Camper Van Beethoven) has done just that with his latest effort, the darkly-titled Hard To See Trouble Coming. And like the title suggests, it’s got that kind of American swampy/boogie/get-down vibe, which I’m quite fond of. Reverb-ed guitars galore; deep-ish octave narrated vocals and brushed drums with pedal steel thrown in – I’d be willing to go out on a limb and say it has a sound not dissimilar to The Band, which is as good as you can get. The production is also on par with the songs and the performances; here, the duties are handled by Bruce Kaphan of the almighty American Music Club and a fine job it is.
Opening with the album’s title track, you immediately picture a session taking place in a small, dimly lit studio; the vibes of darkness from the lyrics and the performance enveloping the physical atmosphere; on “If I Could Only Close My Eyes”, I’m immediately struck by my guess at influence via The Band – here Mr. Krummenacher sounds vocally like the late, great Leon Helm as the music itself could have been executed by Messrs. Manuel, Robertson, Danko and Hudson. “An Angel Who Sings Like Jacqui McShee” is a pretty clever tribute to the lead singer of (the often criminally overlooked but brilliant) Pentangle – and the acoustic background is very Bert Jansch. “Chemtrails” is an upbeat cross between Irish folk and pure country and is easily one the of the album’s brightest and highest points; “If You Won’t Break My Heart, I Won’t Stand A Chance” is a good old fashioned rocker in the Sun Records mold and “Tennessee And Poncho” has that wonderful Tex-Mex feel that the best/classic country and early rock & roll has.
All in all, Victor Krummenacher has delivered the first great album of 2015, which I appreciate wholly. Tasty and meaty – full of guitars, melody and fine songwriting. Hard To See Trouble Coming isn’t hard to take to heart at all.