Album | John Bramwell – The Light Fantastic

The former I Am Kloot mainman’s second solo album is an unexpected departure from the sound which has made his name, and no less enjoyable for it.

“I’ve not got much to say but I thought I’d say it anyway,” Bramwell sings to open ‘It’s Just You’ and indeed, the lyrical content was largely spontaneous in origin and often seems vague and throwaway – certainly in comparison to Kloot’s strongest work, though his fascination with the sky and stars remains resolutely undimmed.

The interest instead comes from hearing him explore a wider range of musical styles, with a new emphasis on light and happiness in contrast to a career full of darker themes.

Several songs have a 60s feel – notably ‘Here It Comes’, with a clear Beatles influence, but also including ‘A World Full Of Flowers’ and ‘Days Go By’. The shanty-ish title track and the Dylan-esque narration of ‘Nobody Left But You’ also take him away from the indie stylings of his long-term project.

Album centrepiece ‘A Sky Full Of Thunder And Lightning’ is the one exception to the shimmery, summery offerings that surround it, with lyrical darkness and Bramwell’s unmistakeable vocals, though even there the uber-traditional folk backdrop is a departure.

‘The Element Of Truth’ is another standout and though the closing track ‘Illegalised’ falls flat, the 11 that precede it show a familiar face and voice in a new and appealing light.