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In recent press interviews, Klaxons have been at pains to state that three years is not that long for a band to go away; and in many ways it isn’t. However as the three band members stand centre stage (joined by their now official drummer and Libertines bit-part player Anthony Rossomando) you can’t help but feel that Klaxons have been away for ages.
With a career seemingly locked away in a hermetically sealed chest marked ‘2006’, along with a host of neon glow sticks and a thousand kaleidoscopic comedowns, Klaxons are here to bust out their new album Surfing The Void. The band cannot take any steps forward without opening that long-locked chest, however, and the question is; have the contents gone stale?
Playing to an audience already won over (the crowd are 50 per cent topless beer boys and 50 per cent friends from Shoreditch) might help, but as soon as ‘Golden Skans’ floats over the gleaming brows gathered in front of them, Klaxons' forays into their back catalogue feel celebratory, not nostalgic. ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ has spent its time away in the gym, flexing some serious muscle here, whilst ‘Magick’ is a paranoid trip through an endless hall of mirrors. Each song is tight and, through Simon Taylor-Davis’s serrated guitar lines, given a jolt of welcome electricity. Bassist Jamie Reynolds recently claimed that he and his band will now always perform sober. Whilst this might be more of a challenge than a boast, tonight’s show is clearly a step up in professionalism that bears no resemblance to the messy live act they once were.
Eight tracks from Surfing The Void are aired and follow a very linear path from the Myths Of The Near Future material. Soaring choruses marry chanted verses full of intergalatic wanderings and space age musings, occasionally crashing into thrashing interludes. Opener ‘Flashover’ ushers in a new found flirtation with hardcore grit, whilst new single ‘Echoes’ is a festival owning anthem, greeted tonight like a long established classic, set to be opening up into one of the most over-blown but infectious songs of the year.
Klaxons were propelled by a cultural explosion four years ago, but tonight proves that away from the transient fashions their songs still work, because they’re well crafted art-pop stunners. Yes they’re brash and a little rough around the edges but that is what gives tracks such as tonight’s anarchic set closer ’Atlantis To Interzone’ an added edge. By not deviating from their chosen path Klaxons will inevitably be criticised, but by adding a depth to their material the band can move on to a new stage in their career. The new Klaxons might not be anchoring their music to a movement any more, but by outlasting their peers and making themselves three dimensional they might have found the platform to finally let their music do the talking.
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