Klaxons – Surfing The Void (Polydor) 23/08/2010
July 31, 2010 by Joe Morrison
Funny bunch those Klaxon lads. Once pioneers of a new, exciting movement (whether it be Nu-rave or not I couldn’t care less), they became embroiled in mass hysteria, with kids lovingly launching glo-sticks at them, they were picking up celebrity girlfriends and superstar collaborations, alongside overwhelming critical acclaim – including a Mercury Music prize, and many journalist’s album of 2007 for their debut, Myths Of The Near Future.
Three years on from the hype, their understandably eagerly anticipated comeback album is with us, after persistent tales of their record company rejecting a whole record, times of teetotalism, and of course the obligatory split rumours.
Taking into account the massive success of the first album it’s rightly difficult to predict how they were to develop, and what they could do going forward to produce a better effort. Yet hype and rumours of old aside, it’s both unfortunate, yet unsurprising they haven’t.
A victim of the hype and hysteria myself, I really wanted to love this album, I really did. But as each track passes you’re waiting in vain for that killer track, the next ’Atlantis To Interzone’ or ’Gravity’s Rainbow’, and your head concedes it’s just not coming.
Possibly closest to a Myths hit is ‘Echoes’, the first single and rightly so, it could have been a great bridge for an exciting new album, but is in fact the most exciting song available. A jittering number, with a ‘Golden Skans’ style attack of drums, but a more potent chorus, which really does echo over the rave synths and stronger riffs.
‘Echoes’ is a strong song, and I’m not saying that Surfing The Void is a weak album, it just doesn’t have enough excitement, or bite, to take it to the next level. ‘The Same Space’ has early promise but drags out into…well, into a void, saved only by some bold production.
Continuing with the bold production, ‘Surfing The Void’ is a highlight, as close as any to ‘Magick’, it’s a short, snappy and snarling number. An explosion of noise and fuzzy guitars teem with the trademark Klaxons shrill and shouty blast vocals to great effect.
‘Venusia’ is this songs seductive sister. More mellow and more haunting it’s not likely to be a hit, but it’s a grower, and in fact probably the best of the ten tracks offered, it mixes Muse-like drumming and drama, but as if covered by The Young Knives – more of this would be welcome.
‘Extra Astronomical’ is pleasantly loud, with ‘Cypherspeed’ reaching Prodigy territory – maybe a good omen for the next trip to see the band live.
It is clear that there is development with Klaxons – where before Myths Of The Future was Electro-Indie, you could say they’re now an Electro-Rock outfit – but whether this is a (however slightly) preconceived change in direction or a convenient production change isn‘t so.
Individually, the songs have been beefed up by superstar metal producer Ross Robinson. Turning it up to eleven is a bold statement of intent to bolster a group who originally produced music from an all too congested genre (Nu-rave or whatever).
Surfing the Void is an album with ten good, solid songs, so therefore it’s a good album, but rather than break ground, the Klaxons have just shaken it up a bit. Funny bunch.