Tuesday 24 October 2017

Kloot fail to let in the epic grandeur of sky-high best

John Meagher

John Meagher

i am kloot

Let It All In

(Shepherd Moon)


Manchester's I Am Kloot have been around for years but have failed to make the leap into the big time that near-neighbours and good friends Elbow have done. It's surprising that their well-crafted, keenly observed songs haven't snared a wider audience, especially when one considers that they were deservedly Mercury-nominated for their last album, The Sky at Night, which was produced by Elbow's Guy Garvey and Craig Potter.

This follow-up – and their sixth album – sees Garvey and Potter return to the mixing desk, although those hoping for a second helping of The Sky at Night's orchestral grandeur will be disappointed. For the most part, this is a stripped back, restrained album centred around John Bramwell's confessional songwriting.

Bramwell is a singer drawn to life's tribulations and the best songs in the I Am Kloot canon document his troubles, failings and disappointments in unflinching fashion. And so it continues here. The oblique Bullets hints at darkness – and the unexpected burst of guitars at the end only serves to underline the sense of foreboding.

Forgive Me These Reminders is a meditative song very much in the Guy Garvey mode and its sparse composition carries considerable weight.

Yet, too often, the three-piece fail to capture the sort of magic attained on this album's predecessor.

A handful of songs – especially the jaunty Masquerade – feel slight and only sketchily drawn.

The track that packs the greatest punch is the one that sounds like it would have been most at home on The Sky at Night.

These Days Are Mine is an eloquent, elaborate song whose orchestral arrangement elevates it high above everything else.

There's an arena-baiting majesty to it, as close as the band have come to matching the catch-all qualities of Elbow's game-changing One Day Like This. KEY TRACKS These Days Are Mine; Forgive Me these Reminders

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