Wednesday 16 January 2013

I Am Kloot - Let It All In - album review

I Am Kloot - Let It All In (Shepherd Moon) 


Out 21st Jan 2013

Let's get this out of the way before we start. The cliches have already been rolled back out for I Am Kloot's sixth studio album, not helped by their insistence on using Guy and Craig from Elbow on production duties. Previous album Sky At Night was seen by the press as their attempt to 'do an Elbow', as if drowning the album in strings onto the album was a surefire way of following their contemporaries and friends career trajectory. There's so much more to Kloot than lazy comparisons, their back catalogue more than stands up on its own and with Let Them All In, they've produced an album that should, in a world with any justice, be recognised as their defining moment to date.

Let It All In is Kloot taking a step back, going back to the basic genesis of the band as a three-piece, with additional instruments added where necessary, and sounding better for it. That mix of John's voice and guitar, combined with Pete's languid bass and Andy's understated but vital drumming is what makes the Kloot heart beat and draws people in without the need for theatrics and arm-waving and hand-clapping.

It feels like the album has been kept deliberately simple to let the natural beauty of the songs shine through.  It succeeds.

The album has an interesting history. Let Them All In dates all the way back to John's days with Mouth in the 1990s and Even The Stars started life as an obvious single in the days of Play Moolah Rouge in 2006/7 before not even appearing on the final album and being radically reworked for this version. The former finishes with John seemingly at peace singing to himself with a saxophone and moog outro in the background. Even The Stars may disappoint some of those familiar with the rockier live version, but has been transformed into a haunting centrepiece of the record.

The album's lyrical themes are consistent with most of Kloot's back catalogue, an insight into the darker side of John's character, such as on opener Bullets where he reflects You treat your body like a cheap hotel. Somewhere you can stay but never stop or All alone sat here whispering through my megaphone. Noone listening, on the telephones on simple, plaintive closer Forgive Me These Reminders, reminiscing about John as a young, argumentative man on Mouth On Me and delving into confused stories of love, paranoia, self-doubt and disaster on Masquerade and Hold Back The Night.

Towards the end of the record, there's the positivity of current single These Days Are Mine and next single Some Better Day which are both classic timeless songs that could have been written at any point in the past fifty years, but feel perfectly relevant today. Ignore the slightly clumsy radio edit and dubious techno remix of the former, the album version makes perfect sense in its full glory and the latter is the song that will break them to the wider audience they deserve if there's any justice in the world.

I've had the album on almost constant rotation for two months and not grown tired of it and I don't think this review does it justice. Let It All In might not be the most original, inventive album you'll hear this year, but you'll struggle to find a more beautiful, heartfelt, emotive and plain damn brilliant one. It's their masterpiece.

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