I Am Kloot - Sky At Night (Shepherd Moon/EMI)

Daniel Harris | Thursday, 01 July 2010

I Am Kloot - Sky At Night (Shepherd Moon/EMI)

I Am Kloot return with their fifth studio album, the sound boosted by a larger recording budget that comes from having the names Guy Garvey and Craig Potter on production duties. The Elbow men have injected orchestral influences in the form of strings and horns giving many of the tracks a 60s Spector sound.

Sky At Night is a logical choice of name for the album, as many of the themes explored revolve around the sky and the loneliness brought on by the night. The album, conceived in Manchester, also reflects on being within and away from the city. Colloquialisms like 'buzzin' and 'safe' slip out; singer John Bramwell's vernacular remains firmly in the north.

'I Still Do' demonstrates the devastating emotional effect a few choice words can have. The song's first two verses concentrate on a beautifully romantic, but not altogether original, notion of having seen his future love in the clouds and in the waves. The third verse sets John Bramwell apart from his peers; here he states he 'had a look in my eye, make destruction my life'. The heartbreaking notion being that since a child he'd recognised the beauty of love, but knows ultimately he will destroy it.

Penultimate song 'Radiation' is the album's strongest six minutes. The epic and uplifting track references Bowie, not only in the star-gazing theme, but in delivery too. The closing optimistic refrain is gift-wrapped and festival ready for sing-alongs.

I Am Kloot spend much of the album looking up to the sky or into the past; it is only closing track 'Same Shoes' where the future is considered. John Bramwell appears concerned with the bigger scope and ambition demonstrated; 'is it screwed, 'cause I don't even know what these new tricks will do'. Bramwell need not fear as this is an album of beautifully crafted and produced songs that will slowly reward I Am Kloot with a new audience and elevate the band from their cult status. Or maybe that's what he's scared of.

Rating: 4/5