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30.11.12 Music Week 15


commercially arid period. “When they tried to close 6, we were specifically used as an example as to why it should continue to exist. That says everything to me.” Then, in 2009, just as history had pencilled in


Kloot as the forgotten men of a melodically-rich flurry of northern talent, something changed. The band began discussions with respected


Wildlife boss Ian McAndrew, manager of Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane. According to Jobson, the pitch from McAndrew – a long-term Kloot fan – was a corker: “He said to us we were like someone’s favourite local pub: eventually, you realise that you’re spending so much of your life there, you may as well go ahead and manage it.” Band suitably charmed, McAndrew came on


board. He set about helping Kloot establish their own independent label, Shepherd Moon, which in turn led to the trio striking a pioneering partnership with EMI’s Label Services. The group’s 2010 album, Sky At Night, was


produced by Elbow’s Craig Potter and Guy Garvey - whose deft fingers had twiddled the knobs on Natural History - and backed by a team at EMI that included promo whiz Kevin McCabe and Label Services SVP Michael Roe. After more than a decade of toil, Kloot were


finally granted a sniff at the big time; Sky At Night hit No.24 in the Official Album Chart and was Mercury nominated. (The less said about the fact they were once again overlooked to perform on Later… With Jools Holland the better. Five critically-praised albums to the good, they are yet to appear on the programme.) Sky At Night was stuffed with wondrous songs


that unfurled from delicate beginnings, but perhaps occasionally grasped too unnaturally at Elbow’s own swooping, stadium-filling sonic template. Let It All In, due for release in January, dials back a notch on this opulence, to organically stunning effect. The album’s blueprint, says Bramwell, was sketched around his gentle near-title track Let Them All In, originally penned pre-Kloot 15 years ago. Other highlights include Bramwell’s ode to his spikier younger days, Mouth On Me, and the suspenseful, claustrophobic lament Hold Back The Night. Album high point These Days Are Mine is a


poisoned love song that introduces a grand, confrontational magnitude to Kloot’s sound – a satisfying balance between Garvey’s ability with Olympic-scale anthemic emotion and Bramwell’s microscopic chronicling of nighttime misdeeds (“White lines, road signs/Just one smile taking up all my time”). “Guy’s massively talented,” acknowledges


Kloot’s singer. “We’ve been drunk with him 100 times so we have that level of understanding. And Craig’s diligence is simply amazing – he’s constantly trying to get things sounding as natural as possible.” Adds Jobson: “We’ve learnt a lot about making


records, and now we’re working with really respected people like the EMI guys, Emma Greengrass, Barbara [Charone] and Ian. “I feel very proud that we’ve given these


brilliant people a record that they in turn are proud to work with. To be in that position, to see the interest we’re getting even at this early stage, it’s all very inspiring.”


ABOVE/LEFT Kloot from the hip: The band say they are “proud to have given our team a record they in turn are proud to work with”


Hargreaves reveals that Let It All In benefitted


from “a concerted effort not to have too many embellishments and maybe to recover the simplicity and character of the first record”. Nobody in Team Kloot is daring to say it out


BELOW Here’s some they made earlier: Natural History (2001), I Am Kloot (2003), Gods And Monsters (2005), I Am Kloot Play Moolah Rouge (2007) and Sky At Night (2010)


loud, but it appears that finally, for this most ill- fated of talents, a perfect storm may be brewing: they have the best team in their history working the best record of their career – one which elegantly blends their abrasive, occasionally unnerving lyrics with lush radio-friendly production. Don’t be surprised to see them back in the posh seats at the Mercurys. As the band roll cigarettes and humbly discuss


their appreciation of Gaz Coombe’s debut solo LP – itself an EMI Label Services release – I ask a dirty question: are they feeling ambitious about their new record? “Oh, I think I speak for us all when I say we’re


very clearly crazily ambitious,” deadpans Jobson, his bandmates tittering in bittersweet recognition at 13 years spent dancing discouragingly close to the precipice of mainstream acknowledgement. I Am Kloot aren’t the type to shout and scream


about dignity – but that doesn’t mean they haven’t got it in spades.


A BLONDE MOMENT ME AND MR JONES


I AM KLOOT were a favourite of the late John Peel, and credit the DJ with lifting their career in the early stages. However, in one Peel session, John


Bramwell managed to leave Wall Of Sound hero Mark Jones slightly perturbed. Peter Jobson explains: “The first Peel session we did, Johnny had just written a new song and Mark Jones (right) was in the control room down at Maida Vale. John said: ‘I’ve got a new one, do you mind if I give it a whirl?’ We’d never heard it before. We’re sat with Mark, who’s incredibly creative and let us do what we wanted – he’s a character


and quite an inspiring chap. Now, he’d just dyed his hair blonde peroxide and one of the lyrics in the song – called Your Favourite Sky – goes: ‘You possess savoir faire/Put cheap bleach on your hair.’ I’m sat in the control room and Jones is like a chicken who’s just had his head lopped off: [Speaks through gritted teeth] ‘Fucking what?!?! Is Johnny having a pop?!!’ I think he genuinely believed he was, as did I. Then I thought: “Fuck me. If Johnny’s making this up as he goes along it’s fucking brilliant…” Bramwell says: “I don’t remember telling him it wasn’t about him, come


to think of it. The next day I think his hair was pink!”


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