Is there a band playing? Descend into this jam-packed venue, and that's the question you hear as a few souls crane their necks to identify the source of the music, then give up and join the rest of the oblivious crowd in conversation. I Am Kloot singer Johnny Bramwell has said that he "could change people's lives with three decibels" - and he probably could. If only they'd shut up and listen.
I Am Kloot are wedged into a dark corner, unravelling their stealthily incisive lullabies with unflinching resolve. Like their songs, they appear fragile but have a tough core - and won't be dissuaded by indifference.
Although Bramwell's cracked, nasal voice prompts comparisons both to John Lennon and Lee Mavers, musically I Am Kloot hover closer to the hazy melodicism of '60s bands The Zombies and The Animals. In their able, back-to-basics hands, semi-acoustic instrumentation and laid-bare vocals prove to be the most effective tools for chipping away at complex human emotions.
Despite their soft tread and deferential manners,
however, I Am Kloot are anything but fey. Indeed, a thinly veiled malice
pulses beneath many of their songs. From the plaintive refrain of 'To You'
("Will someone somewhere marry me?") to the creeping domestic unease of
'Twist' and the voyeuristic discomfort of '86 TV's' ("Watch yourself when
you talk to me"), I Am Kloot reveal both a wicked sense of humour and a
steely, sinister intelligence. Ignore them at your peril.
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