I am Kloot

I Am Kloot – ‘natural History’

It’s Monday morning again, and I’m in one of those contemplative moods, thinking about where to go and how to muddle on through life. I Am Kloot makes for a good soundtrack to bring some clarity, and their music resonates with where I am at today. Simple as, this album is beautifully good, and a review I wrote a while ago comes to mind, thinking it should be shared rather than destined to a life of solitude on my hard drive. With a refreshing reliance on melody, emotion, and composition, Natural History is an insanely good record, lyrical, charming, and raw.

‘The gods and the saints preserve you, ‘cos nobody here deserves you’.

With these opening lyrics to the album for starters, my god; I Am Kloot deserve your ears, empathy, and attention. These songs have a power and depth that is therapeutic if not even medicinal; attesting to their troubled or life hardened fans, made good by an understanding that a sense of beauty should and always does rise above despair.

Discovering I Am Kloot through the mighty Peel sessions, woke me up to a level of refinement in song writing which sets them apart from many other bands. Lyrics that cut through and above the music – cryptic, beautifully poetic, full of resonating imagery, and as with a lot of achingly powerful music – easily moulded or twisted to fit your own personal trials and tribulations.

‘But I have not the gall, the wisdom, or the guile’

I know for sure with the immediacy of this record that these tales are for real, despite at times quite frankly not having a clue what the songs are about. But that’s ok, forget about it and enjoy a subtle drum break or guitar based bridge, a bassline and melody, an odd or amusing lyric – these songs possess a finely tuned structure that resonates with Bramwell’s childhood love of the Beatles. On closer listening,  its not hard to detect a hint of angst and rage in vocal deliveries that owe as much to punk rock, as to charming harmony and stillness that pervades much of this album’s fragility.

The songs here still hit the spot 15 years or so later, timeless in their grace and observations, with most of the tracks regularly appearing as firm favourites in I Am Kloot performances and stripped back to the bones in Bramwell’s solo outings.

‘There are bigger wheels than this’

Trying to put an album into words, I sit by the sea staring out from the west coast of Scotland for a listen, to gather some thoughts as much about the music as perhaps one’s own journey and ups and downs through life. This is reflective music after all that talks of characters and conversations, landscapes, hopes, maybes, and destinies.

I Am Kloot capture this magic live and I remember standing in poised audiences as the gentle, direct expression, and lullaby-esque tones of ‘Have no fear of falling’ wraps around us. You get this intensity on the record too – if not touching a raw emotion, it puts things in perspective, things can be ok, things will work out, take some time out, life is often better than you think.

The re-mastered version offers a depth and fine tuning to the original sound which is entirely appropriate in light of the follow up albums and musical direction the band have been on since originally making this, and seems complete with 86Tvs, Because, and Titanic complementing the album and playing out so well, as if requested as an encore.

I could go on – this record is as subtle and humble as it is majestic and uplifting. It speaks of the everyday, the urban experience, the tranquillity of getting away from it all, loneliness, debauchery and a relentless mission for contentment. Even the good old British weather and hangovers get a look in. Do yourself a favour this week, go listen to this album – discover these songs – have a smoke, have a drink, have a think, enjoy it. Hopefully a metaphorical storm is not coming too soon and the outlook is reasonable, but if it is, then you want these songs like you need good friends.

Have No Fear of Falling – on YouTube
Over My Shoulder – on YouTube

By Tom Manley on September 14, 2015

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