I Am Kloot - Gods & Monsters

Undervalued, underrated and overlooked, I Am Kloot still haven't achieved commercial success and I for the life of me can't fathom out why. Their first two albums were utter delights, brimming with beautifully crafted songs but apart from the faithful fans, the record buying general public ignorantly avoided them. You could say it's their loss, but it's frustrating when less talented bands like Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and The Libertines get ridiculously over hyped. It's anyone guess if "Gods And Monsters" will be their much needed breakthrough album. In terms of quality these thirteen new compositions beat the current competition hands down. With the exception of Doves (another Mancunian three piece), "Gods And Monsters" is one of the most prolific and accomplished albums so far this year.

"An Ordinary Girl" is an unhurried track which on the surface is a real slow burner. Lyrically John Bramwell (or Johnny Dangerously to his friends) weaves a compelling tale of a deceptive female. His skills as a storyteller instantly draws you in with a vocal comfortable enough to be naturally Northern, in the same way Lennon and more recently Jarvis Cocker had. The bass is played loud in the mix adding an under stated sinister mood of uneasiness. There are welcome touches of piano which isn't overplayed. The brilliant wordplay is astonishing and just when you're adjusting yourself to the bands temperament, a surprisingly raucous chorus takes you unaware.

"Strange Without You" reminds me a lot of The Las as it shares with it's Liverpool contemporaries a natural rawness and simple production techniques. Johnny informs us that "I'm always screaming" on this lean track which may be short but it's not one second too long. "Sand And Glue" displays a more immediate and rockier side to I Am Kloot which is more representative of how the band are live. Unexpectedly rhythmic with percussion and drumming dominating the grooves and mood. It's got the feel of a really successful jamming session with surf guitar style licks keeping good company with the welcome sound of an accordion. "Is that what you do with sand and glue" is one of many deliciously written rhyming couplets. This is I Am Kloot taking risk musically and its works wonderfully. "I Believe" is an indie gospel song with it's roots in country, the most obvious reference point being Johnny Cash. Slide and steel guitars, shuffling drums, piano and towards the end of the song sampled voiced all make the closing track on the album audacious.

"Gods And Monsters" is yet another consistently excellent album from I Am Kloot, who unfortunately remain one of music's best kept secrets. Hopefully that should change this year.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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