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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
I Am Kloot
I Am Kloot
The Echo Label

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

February 15, 2005
How do you write about something you don't feel that strongly about? As a music reviewer, this is a constant struggle. Don't get me wrong, it's not the music itself, it's the flood of bands that mostly just elicit a humdrum response.

For example, when the thoughts cross of, "Okay, this is good; obviously, a lot of effort has been put into this record; the musicians are conscious of breaking out of a certain genre, rearranging elements to bend typical songwriting; or they are just that - good musicians." But, where the humdrum comes in is in that lack of something "extra," something charismatic and exciting or entirely personal, without pretension or fear of being "found out." Also, of course, being able to write a snappy song doesn't hurt either.

I Am Kloot's loosely-flowing, free verse musical style successfully does its job in expanding on the Brit-pop genre, creating jangly, instrumental combinations to serve as the backdrop for the heavily-accented vocals of singer Josh Bramwell. With his oh-so-British delivery, Bramwell gives the low-key melodies a bit of attitude; however, they don't change the aimless direction and "heaviness" of some tracks.

For off-kilter pop, I Am Kloot could be a whole lot catchier, and, God, more fun. The record falls victim to the above-mentioned criteria: I don't want to throw the disc from the upstairs window never to see it again, nor do I want to spend the next week with it playing from my stereo. There lies the dilemma.

Despite my predicament, I will attempt to fend off indifference and discuss the better parts of the record for those who wet themselves for British pop: I Am Kloot, at times, break free of their predominate sound on the slower tracks ("From Your Favourite Sky," "Here For The World"), sounding sexily detached. With a Pulp-esque delivery, Bramwell comes across with a contrived dangerousness that can be appealing.

Also, "Life In A Day" has the band focusing more on bass-heavy and tambourine derived rhythms than on crisscrossing instrumental jaunts - essentially, the song is much more of a "pelvic thrust" than a "weepy romance."

The best song on the album, "Mermaids" puts everything in its place. With waves of atmospheric hum in the background, it successfully merges music and mood, picking up and tapering off where it sounds like it should.

Some songs on the album, to be honest, just rub me the wrong way. "Cuckoo," with its repetition of the title word and melodramatic angst, comes off as annoying rather than genuinely brooding and/or introspective. As well, some tracks ("A Strange Arrangement of Colour") have a lack of momentum to them - they didn't feel as if they were going anywhere or building up to anything.

I Am Kloot is very polished in its odd rhythms and unique arrangements. As well, the band does challenge conventional guitar pop, bringing in various instruments and flirting with jazz and dark-oriented, moody rock; however, the songs themselves aren't all that gripping. The dilemma presents itself once again…

Reviewed by Abbie Amadio
The last we heard Abbie Amadio, a former contributor to LAS, was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

See other reviews by Abbie Amadio



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