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Music Reviews

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Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Myths of the Near Future

Rating: 8.3/10 ?

April 19, 2007
If rock and dance were two businesses, a case could be made for talking in terms of mergers and acquisitions: Is rock incorporating dance, or is dance attempting a hostile takeover of rock? For some time now the two genres have been engaged in a cautious courtship, on occasion getting pretty close. The English Beat, New Order, and Nine Inch Nails have all trafficked in profuse elements of both. Even Duran Duran's 1983 disco staple, "Hungry Like the Wolf," was pretty rockin'. Right here, right now we get beat-bashers like LCD Soundsystem to bring out the dancefloor soft spot in dyed-in-the-wool rockers. Add to the boogie roll another one to watch: England's Klaxons.

Their reflectively titled debut album, Myths of the Near Future, begins with "Two Receivers," a song that just might be a classic in the upcoming present. Distant timpani sound off like a march from outer space; as they get sonically closer, the drums kick in, the synthesizers rev up, and then indelible vocal harmonics transmit one of the best opening verses in recent memory: "Krill edible oceans at their feet/ A troublesome troop out on safari/ A lullaby holds their drone in sleep." The song straight away distinguishes Klaxons as a notch above countrymen like Kaiser Chiefs and Bloc Party (with a way better name too, Klaxon is derived from the Greek "to shriek"). They do, moreover, come across as particularly British, and the brooding literate sensibility suggests a funkier British Sea Power; with its driving rhythm and dissonant vocal hollers, "Atlantis to Interzone" could be their "Apologies to Insect Life."

"Golden Skans" captures the band at its best. String-popping bass leads on a discotheque chorus of falsetto "ooo-ooo-aaa" to lyrics "Light touched my hands/ In a dream of golden skans/ From now on/ You can forget all future plans." This sort of apocalypse-lite theme skirts the album like an English crop circle, and is almost as fun to ponder. After all, if we're screwed anyway, we might as well shake our hips on the way. And if Klaxons are to be obliged, that will occur in about five years. Album closer "Four Horsemen of 2012" sums it up succinctly: "We're four horsemen of 2012/ Catch that pony ride on time..."

Myths of the Near Future succeeds on several levels. Lyrically it is a blast into the space-time continuum, from the mythical Cyclops in "Isle of Her," to name-dropping Julius Caesar and Mother Theresa in "Totem on the Timeline." The cosmic imagery of travel to infinity from "Gravity's Rainbow" and galloping beams from "As Above, So Below" give the album a psychedelic air as well. Musically it runs the gamut, from the dark synths of Depeche Mode to the offhand grooviness of The Rapture. The most distinguished element in the Klaxon universe is the immensely engaging vocals of all three band members, Jamie Reynolds, James Rishton and Simon Taylor. Whether solo or in harmony they are the sun around which everything orbits in perfect unison.

Dance has traditionally been more about the body than the mind. Klaxons, along with their equals, are shifting that paradigm; more than meaningless fluff, this new wave has gravity. Literate and soulful, the hybrid is the perfect vehicle to get your limbs and gears moving. Along with Sounds of Silver, Myths of the Near Future is thus far the best dance (rock) album of 2007 that you can rock (dance)-out to.

Reviewed by Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other reviews by Ari Shapiro



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