Let It All In

I Am Kloot – ‘let It All In’, Gigs & Greatness.


Listening to Nick Drake the last few days and with I Am Kloot going round my stereo on a regular basis recently, there’s a parallel to be made here! Whether it is just coincidence that I Am Kloot’s 2010 Guy Garvey produced ‘Sky at Night’ album opens with a song called ‘Northern Skies’ recalling magic and timeless elements of the natural world in its lyrics, listening to ‘Bryter Later’, I cant help thinking that if Nick Drake had been born up North and lived through the fractious Thatcher era rather than the hazy sixties, then I Am Kloot’s latest offering ‘Let It All In’ would be the sort of music he aspires to make.

Have I confused you yet? Let me simplify things. ‘Let It All In’ is definitely my album of the year so far. I hope it wins the Mercury Prize! It’s had me repetitively playing the expansive collection of records Manchester’s I Am Kloot have produced. Building on ‘Northern Skies’ polished production sound, the collaboration with Garvey and Craig Potter has reflected the essence of the band, consistent with the music made by Adam Hargreaves, Peter Jobson and John Bramwell, enhancing their stripped back sound, subtle yet complex pop sensibilities, and captivating vocal and instrumental deliveries.

The John Peel Sessions, recorded 2001 and 2004 had up to now been my favourite ‘Kloot’ record, but January’s release has beautifully captured the edgy, yet both delicate and gutsy side to the band, with songs such as ‘Bullets’, ‘Let It All In’ and ‘Mouth On Me’ reminiscent of early Kloot material such as the legendary ‘Twist’ and ‘86TV’s’. If you’ve not already heard these tracks do yourself a favour and play them now… The spontaneity and at times brutally honest songwriting of the bands formative work is alive and well on ‘Let It All In’ – but there’s also a permanence and reflective nature to these songs such as evident in the soulful ‘Even The Stars‘.

Seeing the band recently perform at Glasgow’s Oran Mor, the start of a UK tour, and again in Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms, I was taken back by just how good they sound live – the audience simply could not get enough ( it goes without saying that the Glasgow crowd seemed a little more up for it tho!) and were treated to a setlist that included these earlier tracks amidst new material; the venues PA seemingly set up to perfection , and the band on top form. With the band culminating their recent touring schedule in Liverpool, the affection felt towards I am Kloot can surely never have been stronger. ‘Wonderful experience. Without doubt the best band in the world right now’ – proclaims a quote from a seemingly die hard Kloot fan on their forum.’ The wonderful thing about I Am Kloot is that it is so clear from their music how grounded this band are  – and enjoying this well deserved success – one knows it won’t go to their heads!

‘Let It All In’ opens with the swooning ‘Bullets’ – as always the lyrical charm of John Bramwell’s vocals shine through – ”treat your mind like a cheap hotel, somewhere you can stay but never stop’’ – graceful acoustic guitar and bass giving way to a raunchy break of drums and moody electric lead guitar.

The singles ‘Hold Back The Night’, ‘These Days Are Mine’ and ‘Some Better Day’ are all good in their own way with production, orchestral dynamics, and saxophones adding to a cohesive sound – but the album is full of things of beauty. The title track ‘Let It All In’ and ‘Mouth on Me’ deliver on all fronts for I Am Kloot Fans, yet no doubt attracting new fans off the back of this record.

The usual commitment to songs of drunkenness and despair are laced here amongst many other influences – ‘Shoeless’ a majestic song about fatherhood brimming with happiness, contentment and innocence despite lyrics such as “I was lost when I found you – Is it me that surrounds you when out of reach?” This is an ode to great song writing, and seeing these guys have been at it for god knows how long – it must feel somewhat bizarre and rewarding to now be attracting such wide spread attention. In ‘Some Better Day’ and the more delicate ‘Masquerade’ it is hard not to be reminded of the Beatles, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ jumping to mind with the latter, although with Bramwell’s drawling vocals “So that we can have a flutter on a better life – you went and borrowed money from a poltergeist” this really only proves that the combination of cryptic lyrics with melodic, structured songs from this Mancunian outfit is a clear winner.

Who knows where I Am Kloot go from here… No doubt festivals over the summer, and stories will become songs…They can no doubt put out some surprises… but as both the gigs I’ve witnessed recently confirm I hope they never lose the edge of honest, raw and stripped back songs such as Twist – songs that speak about the space between a dull monday morning and raised eyebrows, probably about drunkenness, disaster, love and that sort of thing!


http://iamkloot.com - Check IAK’s website for upcoming shows:

The Making of Let It All In

‘Mouth on Me’ at Oran Mor via You Tube Feb 12th 2013

‘Over My Shoulder’ vide0 via You Tube

Tom Manley Photography

By Tom Manley on April 30, 2013

Check out all the pics

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