SINGLE: Klaxons – Echoes
Gorillaz once described winning the Mercury Music Prize as, “Like carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity”. With such a widely lauded and awarded debut album, when it comes to the Klaxons it’s not the Prize that will weigh them down, but the album itself, and you can substitute that albatross for a jumbo jet. Every album will limp along beneath the shadow of Myths Of The Near Future, and every single beneath Golden Skans. Consequently, the initial shelving of Surfing The Void should not have surprised. Faced with a choice between becoming a full on pop band and going way out into leftfield, Klaxons chose the latter and ended up in the abyss. Familiar story no?
Then Flashover was released as a free download, and we were all disappointed. It wasn’t a bad song, but we’d waited for three years only to be met with something that sounded like a reject from Myths of the Near Future. Though Echoes is more of the same it is also a vast improvement. Accessible, combining large quantities of darkness and light, at least it sounds like it would have fit in well on their debut – though I doubt it would have been a single.
There’s something lacking on Echoes – a certain verve, lustre and excitability that made singles like Golden Skans and It’s Not Over Yet so enjoyable is strikingly absent. I do wonder if the rejection of the first cut of Surfing The Void left them feeling forced to make a MOTNK part two, and this laborious process made it impossible for the Klaxons to be anything but half-assed. Once freed from record company interference and given space to enjoy the recording process again maybe they will wildly impress. Or maybe they were so wasted for so much of the time they lost touch with the adept song writing skills that brought them the excess in the first place. Who knows? For now we will have to make do with Echoes and hope that Surfing The Void isn’t as underwhelming as I suspect it will be.