Meow Meow replaces the old E's.

Klaxons – ‘Surfing The Void’

Ploydor 2010

Download/ CD/ Vinyl

Produced at Ross Robinson’s home studio Venice Beach, California.

Track List –

1.    Echoes  (3:48)
2.    The Same Space  (3:12)
3.    Surfing The Void  (2:38)
4.    Valley Of The Calm Trees  (3:17)
5.    Venusia  (4:08)
6.    Extra Astronomical  (3:18)
7.    Twin Flames  (4:12)
8.    Flashover  (5:16)
9.    Future Memories  (3:43)
10. Cyberspeed  (5:08)

Personal –

Steffan Halperin – Drums and vocals.
Jamie Reynolds – Bass and vocals.
James Righton – Keyboards, vocals and Q Chord.
Simon Taylor-Davies – Guitar ad vocals.

Producer – Ross Robinson.

Unfortunately for our cosmonaut alluding and conscience exploring Klaxons, the void they left behind – after their 2007 applauded debut ‘Myths Of The Near Future’ – has been filled by a succession of raving psychedelic bands.
In fact everyone’s been at it; marrying synths to drug-induced bilge, painting hazy hallucinogenic landscapes with references to pseudo-hippie ideologies, or studies in the seamier side of occultism.
From Yeasayer to MGMT, the last few years have seen a vacuum of acidheads, floating around in a pretentious bubble, all of their own making.
You could say the worlds passed our London based group of intellectuals by; leaving them in the fall-out that attached itself to these music presses appointed messiahs – does anyone remember the halloo over the nu-rave tag?
Of course our intrepid musical alchemists were better then all that hokum, releasing an album which is far more ambitious then its been given credit for.
To be honest, they don’t help themselves, dropping arriviste nonsensical references to J.G Ballard, Arthur Koestler, Jean Cocteau, Aleister Crowley and Thomas Pynchon; if there’s one thing critics hate, its bands who think their the first ever to read a book.
Yet they at least widen their horizons, so we can’t berate them for merely investigating astral, spiritual and enlightened learning, which they hope to add gravitas and purpose to their work.

By now you’ve probably all bored with the hiatus stories; the series of problems that led to this album being re-recorded in parts, and the change of producers from Simian Mobile Disco’s John Ford to the Crimson King of nu-metal (hey careful with those “nu” tags) Ross Robinson.
Whatever really happened n those initial sessions remains consigned to the main players; we can only surmise from titbits and statements that the label wasn’t impressed with the direction they were going in.
A fresh re-start saw the band take-off to L.A under the tutelage of Robinson, whose previous production credits read like a list of bands off those rock guitar games, acts like Machine Head, Slipknot, Sepultura and Limp Bizkit – though he also worked with The Cure.
On the surface it seems an odd choice, yet it works, as rather then change the entire musical style of the Klaxons, he merely roughs it up around the edges, cracking the whip in the studio to get the best performances.

Strangely they still maintain a spark of excitement, even though their second album is really a continuation of the debut. In fact it’s hard to hear if there is any real signs of progression, only a penchant for a hardier rock sound, bordering at times on metal, and a toning down of the rave elements.
The stand-out tune by a mile, is the single ‘Echoes’; a roaring slice of emotive psych-pop, which mixes up both elements of ‘Golden Skans’ and ‘Its Not Over Yet’, to produce a proto-digital age version of Pink Floyd – well they both dabbled in the old acid-fueled astral traversing, read the same books, and had a similar musical set-up; hell, even the bands Jamie Reynolds brandishes at times a Rickenbacker bass ala Roger Waters.
Arching strained guitar riffs swan around with bruising bass, deft drip-fed piano and sweeping majestic scenery, enrapture.
Both Jamie and James Righton share an acutely harmonic partnership, swooning and spitting out the lines in breathless plenitude.
Those educated minds embark on a journey of discovery, looking into the canyons of the mind and casting their ire over ideas of synchronicity, “Echoes from the otherworld, turn horizons onto endless ever present, echoes – many otherworld’s true horizons starts to turn”.

The mood is amplified throughout the album, with further allusions cast to manmade and natural phenomena, such as the topic for discussion on ‘Valley Of The Calm Trees’; where the band name check The Parhelion, an optical refraction of sunlight within ice crystals in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. Also there’s plenty of descriptive new age language on ‘Twin Flames’ – a pained lament to ones soul – and on ‘Venusia’ – a city that according to myth was founded in Italy by the Greek hero Diomedes, after the Trojan war as appeasement to Aphrodite.
Space-age terms are jotted amongst every verse, so swat up on your Arthur.C.Clarke.
At times the message seems muddled and incomprehensible, betraying signs that certain words are inserted for their cadence and potential to just sound vaguely meaningful.

Sonically the backbeats are strong, with rolling toms and tightened delayed hi-hats. The bass goes through phases of scuzzy roars and industrial strength fuzz, putting that trusted Fender Precession and Rickenbacker through their noisy paces.
James lays down a searing soundscape of sostenuto and sonorous electronic fused textures and dramatic piano, adding to the more pulchritude moments of escapism.
In all imagine ‘Two Receivers’ and ‘As Above So Below’ mixed with Nine Inch Nails; the tandem voices of both the J’s breathless shouts, through the thick as milk air of multilayer instruments.

The final stroke is left to the Cluster-esque oscillating display of brooding synths and alarms of ‘Cyberspeed’. Spooked and harrowing sounds build towards a rousing chorus of tripped-out clashing nihilism; the riot ending on the loaded and evocative lines “Towards everything you’ve ever wanted, eyes are closed to find the love inside” – a sentimental conclusion, that’s quite befitting for this ephemeral follow-up to their seminal debut.
If nothing else it’s still worth paying the entrance fee, just to experience the Klaxons teetering on the edge, waiting for the new decade – where I hope they will really start make music of the future.
Regardless of how underwhelming this LP is, they still manage to leap ahead of the opposition; proving there worth and hanging in there with the visionaries.

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