The boys from Klaxons are back, and they're angry. At whom or what, exactly, I'm not sure, but the added grit is a welcome layer to top off the now defunct "new rave" designation Klax rode into the limelight three years ago. Surfing the Void
as a whole is more sophisticated than 2007's Myths of the Near Future
. It's sonically denser and more abstract; two qualities which often get misinterpreted as maturation. Don't be fooled. While the album might seem like it traded in its dance shoes for loud prog-punk studio cred, Surfing the Void
retains most of the defiant, genre-bending "I don't give a f*ck"-attitude that made their first album good to begin with, harnessed into a different, angry space for a different, angry time.
While the Klax's first album drove dance-rock culture into neon backlight territory--Surfing the Void
reels it back, as if to say, "Try dancing to this sh*t!" It begins with the drums, which are all the more maniacal as it is more complex chops-wise. This time around, the guys rarely dip into the trance/house/electro beat jar, and instead opt for even odder time signatures than, say, "Golden Skans" off their first album.
The title track "Surfing the Void" and "Venusia," for example, both bash through walls of reverb before back-pedaling into elegantly restrained verses, with interstellar sound effects held in place over surprisingly refined backbeats. It cycles through crescendo-decrescendo sound narratives easily, as if Klaxons are strutting a little of what they're capable of.
"Flashover," which the band debuted live in the UK earlier this year, is the most danceable, which merely serves to bait before switching into angry smashmouth punk deconstructions. "Future Memories" has a little funk to it, but it's a far cry from the groovy, understated likes of "Forgotten Words." "The Valley of the Calm Trees" sounds the most traditionally 'Klax,' but pulses with an inner fury that permeates--and defines--the character of the album.
Surfing the Void
won't change things the way Myths of the Near Future
did, which is perfectly okay. In terms of evolving, the boys sound more menacing--even in falsetto--with a newfound relentlessness that seems birthed out of not knowing where to take their music next. Why feel lost when you can get mad? I'm fine with it, especially for a sophomore effort, and I'm pretty certain Klaxons could give two sh*ts if you dance to it or not.
Just be sure to leave the glowsticks at home. -chris gayomali
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