Klaxons – Myths of the Near Future (Modular)

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Myths of the Near Future

I’d been eager to hear this debut album from the UK’s latest Next Big Thing ever since I first read about them on Simon Reynolds’ blog. Their interviews and lyrics seemed to reference more than a few of my favourite things. William Burroughs? Check! The Illuminatus Trilogy? Check! Thomas Pynchon? Check! Wahey – this will not be another bunch of Ordinary Blokes a la Arctic Monkeys et al…! I wanted to have my mind blown…

I’ll admit to a little disappointment on the first listen – the music was not as ‘out there’ as I was expecting – although Klaxons have been touted as “Nu-Rave” in some quarters (the NME’s toilets?), the rhythm section does not have enough groovepower or muscle for this to qualify as ‘dance music’. Having said that, there are more than enough great tunes on here to have you cutting a rug in the privacy of your own living room.

The shadows of Damon Albarn and the late Syd Barrett loom large over the music – lots of bouncy uptempo songs recalling the best of the former’s bands. ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ sounds a little like Blur covering a 90’s rave tune, whilst ‘Magick’ recalls the early Pink Floyd with it’s unsettling central chord change and clever time shifts. (They also get bonus points for inserting Aleister Crowley’s “Do What Thou Wilt” dictum into this sinister pop song.)

One reviewer criticised the band’s lyrics, singling out for particular derision these lines from ‘Totem on the Timeline’:

“At Club 18-30 I met Julius Caesar,
Lady Diana and Mother Theresa…”

Personally, that brilliant couplet means more to me than the last 45 years’ worth of Bob Dylan. (Yes, I’m siding with Emmy Hennings on this one.)

This is a classic British Art-Pop record – right down to the garish cut-up album cover, with title borrowed from J G Ballard; and in a perfect world ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ would be Number One for the next six months, and dayglo-clad teenage girls would accost you in the street singing:

“Come with me, come with me – we’ll travel to Infinity…!”

Oh well – I can dream…

(Oh, and listen out for the hidden instrumental track at the end – it could give Nurse With Wound a good run for their money…)

Ewan Burke

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2 Comments

  1. If you’re looking for a band that writes lyrics influenced by Burrough’s, Wilson, Henry Miller, and a bastardized combination of toltec sorcery and black magick check out Seattle’s The Nemesis Theory (www.myspace.com/thenemesistheory). They’re a tad on the louder side, however. Why anyone would ever bother listening to any band propped up by the British music press? Oh yeah, because people are a retarded bunch of lemmings.

  2. John

    Yeah I have to agree. The whole ‘nu-rave’ thing, whilst almost certainly conceived of as a joke (I think the Klaxons have said as much themselves), has been the key attractor for a swarm of music journos.

    The album itself I found pretty dull and pretty much just a hype vehicle. But perhaps that’s the point? The joke is on us.