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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I Am Kloot : Let It All In review

Cast your mind back to January 23, 2001 to the late, lamented, Ronnie Scott’s club in Birmingham.

On a magical Songwriters Festival night Mancunian trio I Am Kloot were supporting their pop pals, a youthful and upcoming Elbow.

Fast-forward 12 years and the Kloot’s fourth album has just been produced by Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Craig Potter. They’re still best mates.

“We first met Guy about 17 years ago,” says frontman John Bramwell. “He and Craig have been our mates from long before Kloot started. They’ve probably been to more of our gigs than anyone else.

“When you’re recording, you often need to be able to stand back from the song to get a view on it. This is the key job of the producer – and the two of them are very uplifting in the studio.

“Guy also brings something else to the studio. Sandwiches. When we’re recording, you get a text from him asking what sandwich you want him to get for you on his way in. I can’t imagine Phil Spector doing this.”

There are no wall of sound productions on Let It All In, although the trio’s sound is fleshed out by some unexpected additions, Garvey’s backing vocal on one track among them.

Opener Bullets starts out bleak (Kloot aren’t known for doing happy): “I kept the note you never wrote and put it with the rest I never got...”

Musically it’s bare bones, stripped back to basics, until a sleazy rock guitar solo sashays across the stage like a stripper at the vicar’s tea party.

The bluesy Hold Back The Night pulls a similar trick, its Turin Brakes-style delivery suddenly pumped up by a strident string quartet.

Elsewhere, the set ranges from the simply sung Masquerade, a song which may put you in mind on Pete Atkin, to the raga-rooted These Days Are Mine, an Eastern swirl of which Richard Hawley would approve.

But comparisons don’t do half the trick because it’s the songwriting at the heart of the matter, making this an album to treasure.

Even The Stars, with its reverb guitar, is gorgeous; Some Better Day imbued with a Beatley beauty.

In less than 36 minutes, I Am Kloot serve up 10 songs, without a single weak link, proving that less can, indeed, be more.

And that’s the real sign of a classic album.

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