Friday, May 18, 2007

I Am Kloot - Bar Academy, London, 17.05


Was it around the time that Noel Gallagher lent his endorsement that it started to look like it was never going to happen for Manchester three-piece I Am Kloot? Certainly, it didn’t help that their greatest shot at a hit, 2003’s “Proof”, had its single release fudged by their then label just around the time the Oasis oracle chose to speak. Since, they’ve remained impossible to align with any of the winds of fashion blowing in British guitar music, defiantly and marvellously individual.

The upside is, we get to sit on the floor in the relatively intimate Bar Academy and watch singer Johnny Bramwell run through a knowing selection of their best tracks, largely taken from the first two albums. All are worthy of acoustic treatment; his Dylanesque flair for simple folk songs having been obvious on both “No Fear Of Falling” and “Not A Reasonable Man”.

Bramwell is often characterised as having a knack for grim realism and sound bite but in truth his poetry can be much more nuanced than that. As a singer he controls vocal dynamic like a draughtsman controls line: gentle verses giving way to the thick black line of his voice in full flight, perfectly seasoned by cigarettes and Guinness. Happily, new material played tonight – particularly the elegant yearning of “At The Sea” – suggests they plan a return to the simple songcraft at which they excel, after the relative diversion of “Gods And Monsters”. Perhaps it’ll be the one to finally break them… if so, you’d better get down to the Bar Academy next month when Bramwell’s going to bring Elbow singer Guy Garvey along with him for another cosy little show.

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