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Two years on from their first release and being shoved under the collective woolly hat of the "new acoustic movement", I Am Kloot prove that, like many of their turn-of-the-century contemporaries, there's a lot more to them than introspective acoustic strumathons and scruffy Manchurian accents. From the whimsical romance of "From Your Favourite Sky" ("Who am I to dare to pull the stars from your favourite sky?" croons John Bramwell) to the the lo-fi rumblings of "Life in the Day", this is distorted British folk infused with a crusty northern accent and trickling melodies. "Untitled No. 1" demonstrates their ethos admirably, benefiting from a lazy but essential melody that the dirty, parched beast of "Life in the Day" seems to lack. (That's surprising, as Ian Broudie has produced this along with several others here.)
The melodic drought clears up though and the songs are free to reveal their character, imagination and scope, following country lanes of heartbreak and dusty tracks leading to romantic regrets, with "Here for the World" sounding like it could have been written and performed by Bono (at least in terms of the wry, sardonic delivery anyway). "We've no reminders / No old photograph / Did you come for the money / Will you leave for the lack?" Bramwell asks, rhetorically. In fact, there's more Snow Patrol and Johnny Cash here than Elbow. I Am Kloot is a black piece of work, ambitious and experienced--the tale of a weary traveller, sick with the world, but with the glory of it reflected in his tired eyes. Against the odds, I Am Kloot have managed to produce a classic, individual album of their own eccentric styling. --Cortman Virtue
Dishevelled, hard edged Mancunians I Am Kloot are back with more songs about what an utter mess life can be.
There is no great departure here from 2001's Natural History, but they seem to have come together more as a band, rather than just lead singer John Bramwell plus backing. That's not to say that his confrontational lyrical style is absent. In fact it's become even more complicated.
In second track "From Your Favourite Sky", he asks, sardonically, "Do you dare take a breath, do you dream of a tragic death, you delicate flower?" and then repents, asking, "Who am I to dare to pull the stars from your favourite sky?"
Andy Hargreave's charismatic tom-driven drumming drives along the single, "Life In A Day", and carries away the cheerful "3 Feet Tall". He's a fantastic drummer who combines perfectly with the harshness of the vocals: "Loneliness, it's got your name and your new address when it walks in the place is a mess and it drinks and never leaves..."
They're never overly clever with anything that they do, chord progressions and bass lines are hardly contrived. They're straightforward in the telling, and they've got some great stories to tell.
The spacious arrangement of "Cuckoo" sets it off as a powerful malicious song, and Bramwell manages to carry off the repetitious refrain with sufficient derision.
"Not A Reasonable Man" is underpinned by a sparse flamenco guitar as Bramwell talks about a relationship gone wrong. He honestly recounts the actions of a man on self destruct, where any shred of dignity is long gone: "Let them all in you know that I love a crowd, but they won't get the jokes, 'cos the laughter's too loud".
After all the disorder and torment of the previous 11 tracks the trio finish the record with a sublime track of calm: "The Same Deep Water As Me", complete with a string arrangement and a horn solo.
I Am Kloot could be seen as a documentation of timeless feuding, drinking and drunkenness, getting lost and falling over, in and around Manchester. How it really feels. Sometimes it's uncomfortable. I can almost smell the rain. --Lucy Davies
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Top Customer Reviews
When an album can boast 4 singles and 3 other songs that could be thought of as single contenders out of the 12 that make up the album, that shows the quality of the final product. The standout tracks are "Life In A Day" with it's meaty rhythm section chugging along as suddenly the electric guitar rips in, "From Your Favourite Sky" the song that I Am Kloot recorded numerous times to get right, "Cuckoo" threatening and menacing, "Proof" is easily one of the best 2 songs on the album and almost made it as a single, "Sold As Seen" and "The Same Deep Water As Me" complete the albums strong points with the latter having an exquisite french horn solo in it that just completes a perfect song that I'm sure most wouldn't find moving.
Compared to their debut and most recent album this release sounds unlike either yet stands strong. The thing with I Am Kloot is that each album sounds unlike the others and this settles as my personal favourite, yet "Natural History" apparently is the consistent seller.
My sound engineering teacher recommended them to me giving me a copy of this album. He insisted that the songs themselves were brilliantly constructed. I listened to the album once through and shelved the CD (I was probably more into a different genre at the time!).
I then went to the Hurricane Festival in Germany a few months later (2005 I think!) and they played there. The very moment I got back into Hamburg after the Festival I brought every I Am Kloot album I could find.
I Am Kloot are a 3 piece band that incorperate 4 brilliant textures into their sound. The drummer has a wonderfully "snake-like" approach and weaves rather complex rhythms to the simplist of beats. The bass is quite heavy weighted and slow jazz stylely at times. But (apologise to the rest of the band!) the brilliance is in the vocals and guitar, the solo song "Proof" stands out on the album for it's ability to bring you back to reality with lyrics that all can relate to and confide in.
Among the 3 albums I think this is my favourite, as every tune is a winner.
These guys should be huge, but I'm so glad their not - 'cos their MINE!!
I don't like to compare bands but I do think that if you enjoy the work of Coldplay, Sufjan Stevens, Damien Rice, The Beatles, Rocky Votolato, etc
Oh, and they're one of the best lives I've ever seen (easily up there with Pearl Jam and The Wedding Present)
Everyone should have this album in their record collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic album, but we wouldn't expect any less from Kloot. Moody, emotional, great lyrics, well performed - Fabulous!Published 13 months ago by vikki morgan
I didn't know this band until recent TV series 'From there to here'. Now listening to them constantly.Published 23 months ago by Greta Max
I Am Kloot's self-titled album from 2003 may not be the most celebrated album from last decade, but it should become an undiscovered gem from such a prestigous decade, with its... Read morePublished on 2 July 2014 by Andy Norton
I wish this album were available on iTunes. An awesome album. One of the songs was featured in the movie Snow Cake, which is what first caught my attention to the artist. Read morePublished on 23 May 2014 by PGolden
After listening to this CD I genuinely cannot understand why I am Kloot aren't more popular. Great songs - you won't be disappointed!Published on 13 July 2013 by Hayley
Both Intimate and widescreen I Am Kloot write songs of such intricate simplicity that they deserve to be regarded as the best band in Britain. Read morePublished on 21 Feb. 2012 by Kaufman Is My Brother
This is a brilliant collection of very nice songs by I am Kloot. An excellent music CD and essential if you like this band.Published on 14 Dec. 2011 by Anonymous