I Am Kloot - Let It All In
Three years ago I Am Kloot struck upon the perfect formula; the Manchester outfit brought in fellow Lancastrians Craig Potter and Guy Garvey to help on production duties, with the resulting record Sky At Night earning the band awards across Europe as well as a Mercury Prize nomination in their native UK.
On Let It All In, the sixth studio album from I Am Kloot, the duo from Elbow are once again in control behind the scenes, and if you liked the previous fruits from this collaboration, then you'll not be disappointed by their latest effort. The pair compose some incredibly intricate and delicate sounds to compliment the bands raw talents.
As I write this review I stare out of the window at a blanket of snow and it's bleak, cold and even lonely - but it is also beautiful and inviting. I want to dive in and immerse myself in the frozen white powder, which is most fitting for this LP. To the casual listener it might well sound like a series of depressing or moody songs, but when John Bramwell offers to "tell you tales of glory, in light of the many righted wrongs" on the album opener, 'Bullets', this isn't just a promise for that song alone, but the entire album.
Bramwell's writing is full of his brutally honest and self deprecating charm. Even when the songs are so heart wrenchingly sad you find yourself slumping your shoulders with a giant sigh, they still leave you feeling kind of upbeat and looking forward rather than dwelling. Crossing between blues and country and western Let It All In brings tales of disappointment, failed love and optimistic dreams of greener grass and hope.
There is a knowing assurance to tracks like 'Hold Back The Night', "Fill up your days, and your pockets with plenty, soon they will be empty, once again." It's pessimism at its best and most insightful, with odes to the working class attitude of death and taxes, and accepting the rough with the smooth because you can't take it with you. This album has a wisdom that can only be gained from tackling life head on or by realising your own faults and 'Mouth On Me' does just that, appreciating the shortsighted attitude of youth and the mistakes we make without thinking of the consequences.
A highlight, 'Some Better Day' sounds like Sgt. Pepper's... era Beatles and whilst the trumpets and catchy chorus make it a single contender, it maintains that learned attitude, though with a slightly more positive foundation. It's a witty take on looking forward to breaking from the mundane for one great day: "the evenings and the afternoons are measured out in coffee spoons, between the sunshine and the rain I thought have something more to say."
It's almost impossible to rate records like this. Despite not being perfect, I'd struggle to tell you where I think those imperfections lie. If anything, in places it suffers from sounding a little too much like Elbow, but just like the many characters you meet along the way on this album, no one is perfect and maybe this is the best way to describe it. Let It All In isn't something you can just casually listen to, it's an album to reflect both on, and with (personally I've filed it under 'music to stare out of train windows to'.)