Having achieved their greatest commercial success to date – not to mention a Mercury Prize nomination – with fifth album Sky At Night, I Am Kloot understandably do not stray too far from that formula on their sixth. Recorded once again with Guy Garvey and Craig Potter, of their fellow veteran Manchester boozehounds Elbow, on production duty, the warmth and more expansive sound which helped give Sky At Night a Radio 2-powered kick onto the fringes of the mainstream remain.
‘Even The Stars’ is the most obvious kindred spirit, along with ‘Some Better Day’, while ‘Shoeless’ (“Shoeless in your favourite dress/ You walk the shore, the waves caress your feet“) is prettier than anything you could imagine singer John Bramwell having come up with in the band’s early days.
That’s not to say the spirit of the Kloot of old is not in evidence. ‘Mouth On Me’ would sit happily among their early work, as would the darker ‘Bullets’ (“Don’t open up that drawer there/ That’s where I keep my ghastly truth”) – on which Bramwell was crucially lacking in, ironically, the mouth department. The vocals to the album opener were recorded shortly after he had lost several teeth (possibly in a speedboat accident, though he has since contradicted that story) and a slight hiss is detectable on the ‘s’ sounds.
Once dentally restored, Bramwell’s rough-throated croon is present and correct, giving the band their unmistakable sound and meaning even the likes of ‘These Days Are Mine’, with its soaraway brass fanfares, do not sound out of place.
Words: Tom White