Klaxons - Surfing the Void

2010-09-22 08:33
After listening to Necro and Jack Johnson all night, Surfing the Void sounds like a swirling breath of fresh creatively. Funky, outlandishly psychedelic indie-rock beamed in from “Parts Unknown.” But, as the story goes, it’s not the album I was meant to be listening to.

In March 2009, Klaxons took their completed new album to label Polydor. Who promptly told the award-winning young Londoners to come back when they had a few more hits, describing their “dense” prog odyssey as “too experimental for release.”

The original material, recorded in 2008 with producer James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, The Last Shadow Puppets, Myths of the Near Future), was meant to be out by “early 2009.” Instead, in November 2009, the band jetted off to Los Angeles to re-record with “The Godfather of Nu-Metal” Ross Robinson (Korn, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit).

So you’d expect some kind of overproduced, mismatched, compromised-sounding bullshit, right? Wrong. The original album must have sounded like The Mars Volta underwater, because Surfing the Void pulses with experimental creativity and energy. You can’t hear a band bending over at all.

Robinson’s injected Klaxons with the crunch and punch he’s famous for. The sound is muscular. Darker. More focused. With the kind of depth you can really sink your teeth into. The guitars buzz like a slap in the face. Filthy. The drums hit where it counts. And the bass crunches like it’s about to tear a speaker.

But the melodies still soar – airy and otherworldly. The rhythms are relentless. And the hook-heavy Klaxons sound remains. The unlikely partnership seems to have worked. Psychedelic dance-indie with heavy-hitting, hard-rock production – must have made an interesting change of pace for Robinson.

In the end, it’s catchy pop music (and that’s what Polydor wanted). But at the same time, Surfing the Void is eccentric and interesting. And, perhaps, a better album than its short-lived (and self-indulgent-sounding) “dense prog” predecessor.

Muscular. Darker. More focused. Surfing the Void pulses with experimental creativity and energy.

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