Saturday, 21 August 2010

Album Review: Klaxons - Surfing The Void

Album: Surfing The Void
Artist: Klaxons
Singles: Echoes, Flashover (released as a teaser)

Well, it's certainly been a while since Klaxons released their debut album - three and a half years - and they've clearly had their fair share of problems relating to their second album, but at last they're back! And the wait was definitely worth it.

"Send out a sound, for the wood between the worlds" are the first lyrics we hear on Klaxons' second album, and it's good to hear they haven't lost their touch with crazy lyrics - the rest of the song talks of "the force of the ninth wave" and "true horizons". Musically, it sounds like it was cut off Myths Of The Near Future, which is no bad thing. It is a nice, big song to whet the appetite in preparation for the madness of the upcoming album.

The Same Space
Jamie Reynolds' and James Righton's vocals work very well with each other on this slightly bold choice for the second song. It seems to be a sort of love song with a sci-fi theme - something that very few bands can do well (Klaxons being one of them).

Surfing The Void
Another bold choice for a song only a few tracks in; most reminiscent of Atlantis To Interzone if you want a comparison to the first album. The song, at first listen, seems to be all over the place, but after a couple more listens, it gets better. Definitely a grower, but it's probably my least favourite on the album.

Valley Of The Calm Trees

Apparently, the only song to have been through all the original second album sessions and, at long last, survived to make it on the album. It has a good beat to it, and is quite catchy. And just when you think it's over, about three minutes in, it comes back for one great burst of energy with the words "the parhelion" being repeated several times over. Crazy stuff. It's one of the highlights of the album, and if this was the result, it makes you wonder what the original sessions sounded like.


My personal favourite on the album, it bounces along, driven by the bass and drums, and with a typically mad Klaxons chorus of "Venusia, peculiar, nothing is out of sync...", it's one of the more radio-friendly songs on the album. Well, as radio-friendly as a song off this album is likely to get (which is not a bad thing whatsoever). And to cap it all off, typewriter noises make an appearance right at the end. Yes, I actually wrote that.

Extra Astronomical

This song starts off the slightly heavier second half of the album (the first half really only had Surfing The Void as a heavier song). I have no idea what it's about, but then again, I hardly ever understand what Klaxons songs are about. The song itself takes a couple of listens to get used to, but once you've done that, it's clearer why it was chosen for the album.

Twin Flames

Sounds a bit more pop, and Jamie and James' vocals play off nicely against each other again in the verse - "A burning flame / Goes by and by..." I suspect this will be a single in the near future, particularly to its chorus of "twin flames in our hearts...", which makes the song quite memorable. It's also quite catchy, even though it's one of the slowest on the album.


The teaser for the album ends up being one of the heaviest on the album, and one of the best. Everything sounds mental yet brilliant. Five minutes of all the instruments crashing over each other, barely giving the listener any room to breathe. Fantastic stuff.

Future Memories

The calm before the storm, in a way. For those who heard some of the earlier tracks from second album sessions may recognise this as "Silver Forest". It's a good song, but it doesn't really make a massive impression, it's not as different and bold as most of the other songs on the album. But maybe it's all building up towards the huge closer:


The speed really is set to cypherspeed (whatever that is) for the last song. The previous nine songs have just been throwing bits and bobs of ideas at you, whereas here everything gets thrown into play for five minutes of pure Klaxons insanity. "Ride the pandemonium", the first lyric on the song, is exactly what the listener does for the whole of this hectic, yet excellent end to their long-awaited second album.

So, overall, I think the album is good because it takes the wondrous ideas that only Klaxons seem capable of thinking up and using them to create ten songs that are more or less all epic. There are a couple of dips, but it definitely never spoils the album, which keeps up the pace and hardly ever lets up. There are heavier moments, where the music turns into a fury of sorts (which thankfully is a success) such as Flashover and the album closer, more anthemic, radio-friendly (to a limited extent) songs such as Echoes or Twin Flames, and there is definitely a sense of audacity on quite a lot of the songs. I think the band have made a great album, and all the songs seem at home here on this album. Having said that, I would love to hear what the record label originally rejected; some songs I heard live were actually very good.


Previous albums: Myths Of The Near Future (8/10)

These reviews have not been written by a professional reviewer, but they are instead my own opinions on the songs released. Details may not be as well researched, and I have no access to press releases, etc. to help me judge the quality of the album. I am just an amateur writer and music fan.

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