Following the huge success of 2007’s Myths of The Near Future, The Klaxons toured intensively across the globe, garnering quite a following and spreading their gospel of relentless punk rock-meets-rave music. This album saw The Klaxons become torchbearers for a new “nu-rave” scene as it was dubbed, and the prospect was exciting and fresh. Despite teething problems with production of their second album, (label Polydor rejected the first draft; producer of Myths of The Near Future James Ford dropped out halfway through its conception) The Klaxons prove if anything that they’re an act that can’t be pegged. You would think, following an album like their debut, that a band of their prominence would try and galvanise their popularity with something widely accessible. But latest album Surfing the Void sees them attempt to flex their progressive muscles, with dissonant guitar sounds and unpredictable turns that makes it seem like the soundtrack to a weird and erratic circus that makes little kids cry and want to leave. Essentially it gives us a cacophonic sound that is heavy and strident, which is perhaps a reflection of the circumstances that pervaded its recording.
If it weren’t for Myths of The Near Future, this album would be a somewhat promising debut from a band keen to make its presence felt on the international scene. But this is not the case; their first album was played to death on radio stations everywhere and established the band as a force to be reckoned with by fans and critics alike. Surfing the Void is good in parts when it mimics the energy of the previous album, in songs like “Echoes” and “Valley Of the Calm Trees”, but other than that its pretty flaky and will remind you of your little sister singing (out of key) to indie-rock songs. The problem is that the songs are downers; there is nothing uplifting about anything on the album. Whereas it might be sometimes nice to listen to melancholia, in this fashion of overly-distorted guitars and abrasive arrangements it comes off as offensive. Listen to it hung over and you might struggle. Songs like the albums title song “Surfing the Void” try to stop and stutter for some sort of effect, but its ultimately annoying and distressing.
The Klaxons perhaps deserve merit for being experimental and honest to themselves, but Surfing The Void is an experiment that doesn’t really work. Frustrating in a sense that we would expect better things from a band that have proved in the past they are more than capable of churning out good tunes. Fans might welcome the album’s chaotic tones, but I can’t imagine that a wider audience will be convinced by The Klaxon’s sophomore effort.
Highlights :: Echoes