Ryszard Kramarski Project, The - Mr Scrooge,
The Ryszard Kramarski Project are back with their third album in four years, albeit with a slightly amended bandname on the front cover. The Millenium main man is still there of course in the band which bears his name, but there has actually been a small line-up change for the first time with bassist Pawel Pyzik being replaced by Krzysztof Wyrwa (who also provides Warr guitar). As one may have guessed, this album is inspired by Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, and the cover itself displays a man surrounded by dollars and ripping up a Christmas card. One issue with taking such a well-known story is that it means it can quite wordy, and especially when working in a non-native language it can become a little clunky, and that is the case here at times.
But when it works this album is a real delight. “My Old Friend” is a highlight, with its gentle progressive nature led by the vocals of Karolina Leszko who is growing in confidence with each album. The purpose behind this project is that it allows Ryszard to work with a female singer in a way quite different to what we normally expect, and when that song moves into a piano and female vocal section one can see why he is inspired to be very active in both bands (Millenium also released an album in 2019) – in the last five years he has released three with TRK Project and 4 with Millenium, not a bad output at all (Mark Colton are you taking note?). There is some throat singing at the beginning of “First Spirit”, which gives it a very unusual feeling as well, before we move into some very fluid guitar indeed.
Very commercial, this lightweight progressive album is one I have been playing and enjoying a great deal, and is a worthy addition to their canon.