Klaxons exploded onto the music scene this year in a dayglo burst of punk riffs, all out hedonism and classic British art school conceptual cheek. Now with their debut album Jamie Reynolds, Simon Taylor and James Righton look set to prove that they’re more than just a flash in the pan, a London media fad, an excuse to froth about ‘new rave’. The lads from Bournemouth and Stratford-upon-Avon have come good with eleven tracks that rocket by in thirty-five minutes emanating more energy than nuclear fission. Along the way, they bite chunks out of multiple unlikely musical influences, spatter their lyrics with a who’s who of cult literature, and end up with a music that’s catchy, driven and unique. It’s how debut albums should sound, a raw manifesto that will bemuse the oldsters and invigorate the fans, a window into new possibilities, a dynamic party where those who ‘get it’ dance frantically and those who don’t go back home to their Kooks CDs.
‘Myths Of The Near Future’ kicks off with ‘Two Receivers’ which belies the amphetamine mania of Klaxons’ singles. There are hints of Brian Eno but these are overrun by falsetto vocals and the first of many lyrics that dive mystically into science fiction, ranging across the cosmos like a spiky unselfconscious prÃ©cis of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. ‘Atlantis To Interzone’, with it’s blaring intro of real klaxon alarms is the group’s second single and a call-to-arms. If anything in their set fits the term ‘new rave’ it is this howl-along number with its riveting vocal samples, but be aware there isn’t a housey kick-drum in earshot. ‘Golden Skans’ relieves the pressure and takes the BPMs down to a softer kind of throb. The backing vocals go for sweet classic pop harmonies swimming in a sauce of lost 1980s pop.
‘Totem On The Timeline’ – a few words from rock’s most unlikely Timelords: At Club 18.30 on the Julius Caesar/Lady Diana or Mother Theresa – and that’s just the start. With ‘As Above So Below’ the ghost of space-rock is resurrected via Bowie’s experiments in 1970s Berlin. And if that isn’t enough the lyrics seem to be a experiment in William Burroughs & Brion Gysin’s cut-up technique. ‘Isle Of Her’ recalls the sinister folk songs in 1970s horror film classic ‘The Wicker Man’ but riding on an insistent bassline reminiscent of prime-time Stranglers.
Then it’s back to the familiar with a stomp through ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’, Klaxons’ opening single, still sounding fresh and firin’ with it’s Come with me/Come with me/We’ll travel to infinity chorus. This neatly segues into third single ‘Magick’, with it’s references to the Order of the Golden Dawn, stop-start motifs, and pleading that we should Do what you will. Early 20th century occultist and druggy mountaineer Aleister Crowley gathers yet another rock classic to his tribute collection.
On ‘Forgotten Works’ Klaxons push the boat out even further with vocals delivered like madrigals, or perhaps more like the Gregorian psychedelia of long lost ’60s rockers The Electric Prunes. Anything further from the cheerful music hall stomp of most indie would be hard to imagine.
Saving their famed cover until near the end, Grace’s ‘It’s Not Over Yet’ is a ballistic synth-punk attack on the song, playing it as a modern anthem for pogoing dancefloor dervishes. Which simply leaves it to ‘The Four Horsemen Of 2012′ to finish things off, a galloping thrash that comes like Krautrock at its most kosmische.
Decipher it, dance to it, or just enjoy its formidable vigour, but one thing is certain; Klaxons’ have arrived and are going to be hard to ignore.