Returning with their sixth studio album and the follow-up to 2010’s Mercury Music Prize-nominated Sky At Night, Mancunian folk-rockers I Am Kloot stick to the blueprint with Let It All In, delivering more of their beautifully worn pop songs.
Starting off proceedings with the gentle acoustic number “Bullets”, whose creeping bass line recalls a much more sedate version of early single “Twist”, singer-songwriter John Bramwell‘s distinctively nasal vocal immediately draws the listener back into the melancholic yet optimistic world of I Am Kloot. “Should I tell you the tales of glory in light of the many righted wrongs?”, ponders Bramwell, whilst bassist Peter Jobson and drummer Andy Hargreaves lightly plod along behind him.
Whereas part of what made Sky At Night so notable was its use of production to accentuate and compliment the songs by placing them on a larger sonic setting, here the focus is smaller, allowing the trio to give their performances space to breathe, which suits the reflective nature of the lyrics.
First single “Hold Back the Night” stands out as an early highlight, Bramwell seeming to have snapped out of his stupor of self reflection, and along with the almost-title-track “Let Them All In”, which features a very catchy chorus, could easily stand amongst the band’s mighty back catalogue.
The decidedly downbeat and melancholic tone of the album is at once charming, likeable and tiresome. Produced once again by longtime friends and collaborators Guy Garvey and Craig Potter of Elbow, it is almost as if the optimism that typifies much of that band’s most successful work finds its counterpoint in that of I Am Kloot. Which is not to suggest that this is a pessimistic record, but while Garvey and co. have perfected their soaring anthems of love and universal truths, Manchester’s other sons have, for the past fourteen years, perfected a world-weary and intimate style of song that recalls a bar in the morning’s early hours rather than a Glastonbury field.
The exception to this is the extremely Elbow-esque second single “These Days Are Mine”, (possibly an answer to Elbow’s mega-hit “One Day Like This”?) which features both a string section and a catchy repetitive chorus seemingly designed for large scale sing-alongs. The slight Indian influence of the track recalls the drone of “Tomorrow Never Knows” and is an interesting side-step so late in the album.
At its best moments this is classic Kloot and can be considered up there with the band’s greatest achievements; Bramwell’s songwriting is as superb as ever. At it’s weakest points it’s still very good, if a little unremarkable.
Originally published on The AU Review on 13/02/2013. View original article.