REVIEW: Klaxons – Surfing The Void

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The collective disbelief that its been 4 years since the “Nu Rave”¬†(remember that?) champions were active, has without fail been in the opening statement to any media mentioning the boys over the last 12 months…(shit I just added to that…). However here’s hoping this doesn’t hinder the collective expectations of their once fluoro clad fanbase, because the songs spanning ”Surfing The Void”s 10 tracks, are everything you could ask from the ”grown up” Klaxons and more.

By now you should be well acquainted with opener ”Echoes”, a swelling, piano led stomp of an epic, and the spiritual cousin of oldie ”Golden Skans’. Consider this the bridge between ”Myths of the Near Future” and ”Surfing the Void”, easing you in gently with its recognisable familiarity.
”The Same Space” however doesn’t share the same, 90’s dance infused danceability. Instead what’s offered up is a call to arms march, as heartfelt in its sentiment as it is angry. The vocals contrast the crashing, plodding, feedback heavy instrumentation brilliantly, with James Righton singing ”When we wish for the same things many see signs – some others find
When we’re together we come alive when we organise
”. The results are like a rendition of Romeo and Juliet, staged in the midst of ”War of the Worlds”.
By their own admission, rather than fumbling their way around guitars/synths, the boys can now (gasp) play their instruments, with tracks such as ”Twin Flames” being the testament to that. Walls of guitar and synths, use space, ringing out and expanding, where once only former producer James Ford’s (brilliant) studio wizadry could. ”Twin flames in our heart, as we move towards our very start, Twin Flames in our mind, when we move emotions multiply” comes the call and response between Righton and Reynolds, making for another track as much about romance as it is other dimensional beings.
Unfortunately its tracks such as the aptly named ”Surfing The Void”, that raise those nagging doubts concerning label interference. Even the most casual of Klaxons fan, couldn’t fail to notice the glaring similarity between this number, and trademark tune, ”Atlantis to Interzone”. It’s almost identical shout/sing chorus, and psych-surf hooks come off a little jackhammered, making for something that seems to be trying to recapture a sound that’s long since passed.
As forced as the nostalgia may feel on ”Surfing The Void” (the track that is), their former sound is picked up and dusted down with expert ease on closer ”Cypherspeed”. If ”Echoes” is ”Golden Skans” part 2, then this is ”4 Horsemen of 2012” speeding through a wormhole. Paranoid angular bass and distorted synths synchronise, while Simon’s guitar noodlings are back to the pedal happy, distorted bashings of old. The whole affair, wails and screeches to a climax, ending in a dense mesh of feedback, and a creepy throbbing heartbeat synth, over which is the boys breathless harmonised monk chants.
Part of me believes the 14-15 year old inside me, couldn’t dislike anything Klaxons released, and fingers crossed there’s enough like minded fans out there to make sure this album gets the welcome it deserves. It might not be the direction/giant leap people expected, from the same troupe of wide pupiled, rave starters, who spawned a movement from the ground up all those years ago, but then again, when were Klaxons something anyone expected?


Joe Thresh