Review: Klaxons, Myths of the Near Future
It’s been three years now since Franz Ferdinand exploded on the scene with their combination of angular guitars, punchy rhythms and smart lyrics that drew inspiration from bands like The Talking Heads and Television. Which is to say the New New Wave isn’t that new anymore. The US audience, focused on emo whiners, self-absorbed singer-songwriters, formulaic rap cartoons and by-the-numbers music for the masses, hasn’t shown much interest in New New Wave but they love it in the UK. The result has been a parade of Brit bands like The Kaiser Chiefs, Art Brut, and The Arctic Monkeys that garner rave reviews in the UK but generally struggle to make much headway in the US. Cue the Klaxons.
The Klaxons slot into the subset of New New Wave bands that are expanding on the original model by combining the insistent rhythms and sharp guitar attack of the early bands with other musical influences. For the Klaxons, those other influences appear to be psych-rock and dance music. The result is an often interesting amalgam of styles that, when it works, works very well. The Klaxons are a drummerless trio (session drummers are used on “Myths”) who all sing – and they draw from a unexpected source for many of their vocal arrangements. Earth Wind and Fire. No, really. Listen to “Golden Skans” and the EW&F vocal influence is obvious and once you hear it there, you can hear it almost everywhere. It was the last thing I expected to hear from a band like this and it works surprisingly well.
On tracks like “Golden Skans” and opener Two Receivers” the band delivers a compelling combination of post-punk and psych-rock driven by a fat rubbery bass. When they do the standard New New Wave thing, which they do about half the time, they sound like any one of a hundred other bands and interest plummets.
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