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.

Chris Gilliver

I started out writing for the Manchester Evening News as a freelance journalist back in 2008. The idea that I would be given free access to music and gigs seemed somehow miraculous to me, and I proceeded to take full advantage of the situation. When the M.E.N. decided to constrict its coverage to only the very biggest bands, Simon Poole approached me with a plan to make sure that all the very talented musicians of this world that pass through and/or live in Manchester would not go unnoticed. As the New Releases editor here at Silent Radio Towers, it remains my proud duty to cast a critical eye over the music and reviews that come my way in a manner that is both supportive and fair. Above all, I strive to write as entertainingly possible. Favourite musicians include the Pixies, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mercury Rev, Os Mutantes, The Knife, Beach House etc etc. I'm a firm believer that all genres (except nu-metal) contain music of great quality...