I Am Kloot – Let It All In (2013)
“Let It All In” is the Manchester-based band’s sixth studio album and the second produced by Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Craig Potter and, in my opinion, is probably the best thing the band have ever put their name to which, given the quality of their previous material, is no small claim. It took a few plays, but once the songs established themselves in my mind, there was no removing them. This is simply a marvellous, beautifully written and performed piece of work from the first to the last note. John Bramwell, the singer, guitarist and songwriter is currently in the form of his life and this album is comprised of ten individually superb slices of emotionally-charged indie. If you can pigeon-hole the wonderful breadth of creativity on display here into a single category, that is (you can’t!).
Album opener “Bullets” is a mournful, minor-key piece of dramatic brilliance which almost reads like a psychological thriller: “You treat your body like a cheap hotel/somewhere you can stay but never stop”. The instrumental break almost brings to mind a dance number in a darkened cabaret room as the guitar solo viciously tears apart the melody line. The chorus of sublime (near) title track, “Let Them All In” offers the first warm positivity of the album and feels like sunlight breaking through the grey clouds. “Hold Back The Night” starts with a minimalist approach of bass and Bramwell’s pained vocals, with guitar and drums joining in tentatively, hesitantly, building the fullness of the sound with each verse, until the instrumental break kicks in, when some sumptuous, scintillating strings take over the piece and make it soar, building to a goosebumps-on-the-skin climax with the lead guitar that leaves the listener almost breathless. Nostalgic ballad “Mouth On Me” features a tumbling bridge which cascades beautifully and “Shoeless” is tender, wistful, romantic and lovely.
The gently magnificent “Even The Stars” washes over you like one of Richard Hawley’s finest performances and the folky, chirpy “Masquerade” (featuring the superb lines “the mad arrangements of my day/my descent into beige”) continue the likeable, hummable high quality feel of the release. Perhaps the most catchy and commercial song on the album is “Some Better Day”, which has a Beatlesque quality to it, an everyday subject matter and some lovely brass augmenting the subtle jauntiness of the melody. It’s certainly one of my favourites on an album packed full of genuinely great songs. The album is brought to a conclusion with the strongly string-driven “These Days Are Mine” and the pensive, melancholy “Forgive Me These Reminders”, finishing the record beautifully.
I’ve read quite a few reviews and there are some I Am Kloot fans who don’t consider this album to be one of their best. I can’t claim to understand that point of view. All I can say is that, since its release in January, I have fallen deeply in love with this album, felt that the songs more than compared with their previous work when I saw the band live in Brighton earlier this year and it is, to me, one of the best albums I have heard all year. Their appearance at Glastonbury yesterday, which I attended, only cemented my opinion of both the band and the material from this album. Of course, other fans will have their own opinions, but this is mine – “Let It All In” is absolutely magnificent.