"New Rave" hallmarks KLAXONS released their full-length debut Myths of the Near Future to glowing reviews last year after a rush of hyped singles. Do they deserve such praise?
Recommend this product?
Yes and no. It is interesting to keep an open ear to new issues. And it is also interesting to put things in perspective.
Two Receivers plays as INFORMATION SOCIETY down to vocoded vocals and easy rhymes - only filtering those Crossover SynthPop vocals through post-Drum N'Bass (and Britpop) sonorities. There's something new here - but the new affords just a recombination of puzzle pieces. The occasional bursts of digital guitar recall DURAN DURAN. And there's no hint of postmodern irony going on.
Atlantis to Interzone, KLAXONS' most accomplished dance number (this conclusion I took from listening to their early Magik single) is still not much more than a New Wave sendup. With idiotic backing vocals included. Apart from the crisp sampling (which recalls a downsized CHEMICAL BROTHERS at best) and the frantic, but polished "new rock" assault (like ARCTIC MONKEYS) that occupies the second half, the James Righton's song wouldn't be a highlight for many people. Toward the end the whole song becomes a demented JANES ADDICTION/QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE hall of mirrory vocals. Another triumph of permutation.
Golden Skan(k)s is the trippiest song here and one of the more interesting as KLAXONS bother to write decent melodies and SUPERGRASS/STEREOPHONICS vocals. Like clear-cut Britpop they shine in all their disposable juvenile. It sounds like their pals HOT CHIP - if only they had a decent chorus that is.
Totem on the Timeline is much more explicit a New Wave sendup with its B52s bassline, faux-Casio keyboards and jerky-nervy robotic vocals. It sounds a less accomplished THE FUTUREHEADS - or ARCTIC MONKEYS playing THE second STROKES album.
As Above, So Below keeps on going down the New Wave rug in a mellower vein - ELECTRONIC? ERASURE with no decent hooks maybe. Then a cloudy outburst of sound effects unfolds another Chipmunk chorus. It is getting on my nerves. But overall the song is just Britpop aftertaste. SUPER FURRY ANIMALS could have packed it on a B-Side.
What seems an obscure minimalist industrial track - Isle of Her - quickly becomes the idiotic mantra "I send my MasterCard" to the pace of numbing old synths. Isle of Her is the worst KLAXONS track up to now - a bad digital trip with amorphous bass, disposable choruses and no sense of purpose.
Gravity's Rainbow is one of the live staples of this New Rave exponent. Symptomatically it sounds like their version of an ARCTIC MONKEYS track. Not quite frantic, mid-pace guitar outbursts fill the half-bored, half-unmassaged vocals. Synth effects that wouldn't be out of place in a CANSEI DE SER SEXY record (KLAXONS' singer is dating CSS'' Lovefoxxx). The kinetic rhythm also recalls THE FUTUREHEADS and THE KILLERS. Unfortunately it would have been a B-Side to all the aforementioned but CSS. It is mediocrity incarnated.
Forgotten Works - here KLAXONS bounce back with a decent track. A shiny New Wave production meets an obtuse bass lead straight from a Madchester nightmare. Epic vocals recall ULTRAVOX and ROXY MUSIC - or even YES! This is as far from raves as one can get within the confines of Myths of Near Future. Spacious keyboards are more FAITH NO MORE than DEVO. Under the skin KLAXONS is a Progressive Rock band gone awry with heavenly harmonies, psychedelic compositions and lead breaks.
Magick, my introduction to the world of KLAXONS, remains pretentious, obsessive stuff for cultists - an epilepsy on a bumpy road of skewed gurgling synths, proto-Punk percussion, New Rock compressed riffs and Devil-may-care vocals. The bell-like rhythm and the irritating bad trip vocals convey the mood of a downright ugly rave aftermath (take it by the retro laserbeam synthesizers). The porosity gels around a New Rock pattern (strong drumming) after a mid-song break. KLAXONS indulge in faux-Progressive Rock disguised as new Madchester.
It's Not Over Yet - really. Another downer of a New Rock arrives in the guise of It's Not Over Yet. Closer to Emos, KLAXONS' male harmonies remain bland but this time they are not spilling words in the dancefloor. A skewed digital guitar-dirty synth reminds me of THE KILLERS, one of their obsessions. The chorus is almost decent. As if they were ready to show the world they are no fluff. Almost moving.
Four Horseman of 2012 is the most humorous and unassuming of all their debut tracks. A relentless drum pattern followed by vocoded tongue-in-cheek Nu Rock vocals comprises the whole song. As Progressive Rockers of 30 years ago KLAXONS are not devoid of sense of humor - and they love exaggerated choruses and undistinguished jams. The ethereal male harmonies bounce back - this time closer to BACKSTREET BOYS' Everybody than FAITH NO MORE's madhouse. Watch your body right. Alright! See ya dude.
* * * 1/2 Two Receivers
* * * * Atlantic to Interzone
* * * * Golden Skan(k)s
* * * 1/2 Totem on the Timeline
* * * As Above, So Below
* 1/2 Isle of Her
* * * Gravity's Rainbow
* * * * Forgotten Works
* * 1/2 Magick
* * * 1/2 It's Not Over Yet
* * * Four Horseman of 2012
Great Music to Play While: Cleaning the House