The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A review of the album 'Surfing the Void' by The Klaxons

The Klaxons - Surfing the VoidReview Snapshot:  'Surfing the Void' is perhaps on the most eagerly anticipated releases of the year, with the band's debut earning themselves the much coveted Mercury Prize. However the past three years have seen an insurgence in the world of indie music, begging the question Is there even any room for the Klaxons any more? The answer is not too positive, based on this release.

The Cluas Verdict? 3 out of 10

Full Review: Three years of anticipation have been building around this album, the follow on from the Mercury Prize winning 'Myths of the Near Future'. With tales of drug binges and hallucination conversations with god, the hype surrounding 'Surfing The Void' had built to fever pitch. 

In many ways 'Myths…' was so highly rated that whatever followed it never really stood a chance and unfortunately, as with many bands, Klaxons have fallen foul with their sophomore record. Whereas bands like The Horrors and The Maccabees have come back with genuine works of genius, the Klaxons' new release is in general pretentious, odd for the sake of odd.  

'Surfing the Void' is quite a rough cut, with the apparent intention of being edgy and different; instead it sound messy and hurried. While 'Myths…' was filled with random guitar solos that never quite fit in, they on the grander scale of things did made sense, or at least worked. On 'Surfing…' they seem to be there for artistic effect alone.

This time around the novelty has worn off, the glow sticks are gone and apparently with them the inspiration for dance floor fillers. Tracks get lost within each other, swirls of synths and an abundance of high pitched vocals drag from track to track. 'The Same Space' shows that Klaxons can actually sing, this seems to be the only step  forward as a band they have taken, even then the high pitched vocals are never far away, slightly detracting from what could have been a stand out track, instead it just becomes the best of a bad situation. 

In their attempt to rid themselves' of the nu-rave label they seem to have forgotten to pick up a new one: the record seems to drift between genres, not as a broader inclusive declaration of intent, but more as a statement of a band a little lost.

It's reported that during recording sessions record company execs, tired of very little progress including an entire album scrapped, took quite a firm hold over matters in order to extract something in the way of a hit. Whether their grip was too tight - or even too loose - there's not a 'Magick' or a 'Golden Skans' to be seen. In fact it would seem that the vast majority of 'Surfing The Void' is barely album track material in comparison with their freshman outing. 

Listeners' time would be much better spend re-discovering 'Myths of the Near Future' for all its nu-rave, glitter and glow stick glory.

Katie Murphy

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Nuggets from our archive

2008 - A comprehensive guide to recording an album, written by Andy Knightly (the guide is spread over 4 parts).