Klaxons, ‘Surfing The Void’ – First Listen

We’ve been waiting three years for the new Klaxons album, but it’s finally here – and Mark Beaumont’s heard it


The first single ‘proper’ and a crunching, punch-in-the-throat comeback. The driving rave throb of ‘Two Receivers’ expands to galactic proportions while James Righton and Jamie Reynolds’ android double-singing takes in visions of alien landscapes, otherworldly messages and “The 9th Wave”, an 1850 Russian painting depicting sailors clinging to the mast of a submerged ship in a violent sea squall. Recorded at a similarly storm-lashed LA beach-side studio, it combines the threat of devastation with an optimistic reach out to the stars.

Same Space
Written about Jamie’s break-up with his girlfriend, this saucy hyper-pop stomp sounds more like a brilliant shag as described by Stephen Hawking. “When we’re together we come alive… collective arrival/We share the same space/We feel the same impact on arrival and embrace”. It’s the sort of lyric you’d expect from a Dalek version of Prince, and the tune is what you’d expect if Klaxons were an army of marching 50ft Terminators attacking Detroit – heavy and funky.

Surfing the Void
A gabba-rave riot in the fine tradition of ‘Atlantis To Interzone’, inspired by the band’s dabblings with psychotropic plant drug ayahuasca and full of cockiness. Feels like waltzing with Cloverfield.

Valley Of the Calm Trees
The sole survivor from the original second album sessions, ‘…Calm Trees’ sounds like another sci-fi fantasy with its talk of diamond dust clouds, multiple suns and crumbling mountains. But it’s actually a reference to the parhelion – a naturally occurring phenomenon where ice crystals in the atmosphere refract sunlight to make it look like there are three suns. Klaxons make it into a trippy, Muse-ish celestial soar.

‘Venusia’ prowls the subterranean electro basements of the early ’80s before casting off its overcoats and flouncing around the chorus in feathery synthedelic finery worthy of Pet Shop Boys or Erasure at their most edgy.

Extra Astronomical
Klaxons’ climate change disaster song might be set on some distant planet surrounded by “orbiting machines” and facing a “celestial catastrophe” by “incoming collision” but its siren guitars and doom-laden bass still sound as terrifying as the last seconds before deep impact. It leaves a crater the size of Nicaragua in ‘Surfing The Void’.


Twin Flames
After the horror, romance. ‘Twin Flames’ is this album’s ‘Golden Skans’: an adorably funksome love song with a futuristic twist and the groove of PJ Harvey’s ‘Down By The Water’ or Beck’s ‘New Pollution’. Forget that the middle-eight sounds like The Flintstones theme – this sounds like it could be a hit so big it’ll block out all three suns.

The tune that invaded the internet last month like War Of The Worlds armed with deathray guns, this frenzied tale of UFO contact reminds us of the most violent anal probings we’ve ever experienced on the mothership of the Gregorian Worm People Of Gamma 15.

Future Memories
Stern, austere and graceful, ‘Future Memories’ blends Depeche Mode moods with Zen-like mantras to create the sort of hypnotic shimmerpop classic that Interpol think they’re making.

Cypher Speed
Chucks everything in your face to see what scalds. Gargling underwater vocals, epileptic synth fits, Omen chanting segments, a drumkit trying to beat itself to death; as a signpost to possible future directions, it covers 360 degrees. “Ride the pandemonium” indeed.