I Am Kloot : Natural History

Manchester troubadours deliver highly-strung debut

John Bramwell is a pretty gnarly sort of character. He cuts hecklers dead. He howls unhinged. He is a master of the provocative aside... And yes, he does all this while playing that most genteel of instruments, the acoustic guitar.

I Am Kloot, you see, are a million miles from the niceties of the New Acoustic Movement, and this, their debut LP, sets out their alternative agenda. It vacillates between self-loathing, cynicism and moments of profound tenderness, and really it's only their instrumentation that's traditional. Bramwell's melodies have been transformed by the sensitive spinning of bassist Pete Jobson and drummer Andy Hargreaves, and they're crucial in fulfiling I Am Kloot's promise.

Lyrically, the record's great. Explicit and honest and a master of metaphor, Bramwell is, in his own way, as fine a wordsmith as Morrissey or Stuart Murdoch. There are oddly poetic phrases here, shrouded in a multiplicity of possible meanings, that will nag at you forever. "There's blood on your legs", presses Bramwell in 'Twist'. "I love you".

The album's pinnacle, 'Because', suggests this lyrical obscurity is essential. Strip the obscure, imagistic couplets from this meditative, rolling-ocean ballad and it'd be nothing. They help form a mystical, rapturous, staggering declaration of love. And a fitting end to an album that, while not flawless, will stir you into a rare, joyous fervour.

Tony Naylor
8 / 10

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