Klaxons – Surfing The Void

Klaxons have been away for what feels like forever. They pretty much popularised nu-rave, are almost solely responsible for Leeds/Reading Festivals’ saturation with glowsticks and UV paint, and got initial recordings for their second album trashed by their record label before getting sent back to the studio. I took a quick listen through to their follow-up to the critically acclaimed Myths Of The Near Future to see if it lives up to the hype.

Kicking off with a squeal of feedback and a tone similar to ‘Golden Skans’, it’s classic Klaxons from the start. Dear boys, it’s like you never left.

Bit of a change of tempo here,  but also not enough to make the track paticularly stricking. Plodding drum beat surrounded by some swirling synth and guitar; not quite dreamy, not quite exciting enough to be a single. Never really going anywhere, devoid of the adventure of their previous material.

Angry, screecing vocals surrounding an aggressive bassline, vaguely reminescant of ‘Four Horsemen’. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to make it stand out as an enjoyable track. Disjointed, needlessly messy, sadly lacking in memorable points.

A fast paced opening bassline framing vocals from Jamie that beat on about some vague mystical visionary world. Obviously. Although it starts promisingly, it fails to evolve from those starting few seconds, eventually ending up grating on your ears until a vicious explosion of noise closes another dissapointing effort.

Another growling bassline, framing some terribly forgetable vocal performances. It’s at times like this, that the album begins to feel less like a new Klaxons album and more like a parody of everything they were good at back in 2007.

Clearly, the one thing Klaxons have learnt in the three years they’ve been away, is that sticking a cracking cowbell beat on a song elevates it at least ten percentage points. Still not enough to rescue another drab effort from a band once adept at creating vibrant pop hooks and anthemic, dynamic choruses.

Okay, so at least the drumbeat on this one is a cracking affair; tumbling along with vigour. But yet again the vocals aren’t paticularly catching, and the whole track ends up limping towards a wet conclusion.

This was the first track revealed from Klaxons sophomore effort, and so far it’s their strongest. It’s a vibrant, visceral mess of screeching feedback and hollow crash cymbal – but in all the best ways. I said it back in May, but it’s “the sound of Vice fucking Platform while Dazed & Confused quietly keeps itself busy in the corner”. Bit late in the album for the first strong track though.

Maintaining the momentum of ‘Flashover’, it’s at this point that the album seems to settle down – no longer chasing its own stylistic tail, but instead settling into a kind of post-Myths groove. More relaxed, less pop.

Frankly, as the album draws to a close, it’s tricky to justify another listen; their cod-mysticism doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. If Myths Of The Near Future was fuelled by ketamine, whatever drug fuelled this follow-up had better get ready to feel responsible for a massive disapointment.

Klaxons release Surfing The Void on 23rd August before headlining the NME stage at this years Reading and Leeds Festivals.