Klaxons

Myths of the Near Future

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Breathlessly anointed by the British press as pioneers of the "new rave" movement, Klaxons aren't quite as radical on Myths of the Near Future as they've been made out to be -- but they're not as grating as the hype around them would suggest, either. Their sound is closer to dance-punk than revamped Madchester giddiness, more like Bloc Party before they got very, very serious than the Happy Mondays or Stone Roses. "Atlantis to Interzone" is the band's most overtly dancey song. Opening with shouts of "DJ!" sirens and guitars that sound sampled, but aren't, then segueing to beats and rhythms that soar and plunge like a roller coaster, the song is the closest approximation of what a "new rave" would actually sound like. Fortunately, though, Klaxons don't limit themselves to a strict diet of shouty vocals, angular guitars, and loping basslines (though these are all present and accounted for on less interesting tracks like "Magick" and "Four Horsemen of 2012"). Myths of the Near Future's layered, deep-focus production prevents the band's sound from getting too boxed-in, elevating "Forgotten Works" and "Isle of Her" with choral vocals and a chilly atmosphere reminiscent of Gary Numan, "Ashes to Ashes" Bowie, and the colder side of Wire. Paradoxically, Klaxons' more classic leanings are what make Myths of the Near Future's best songs sound fresh. "As Above, So Below," "Gravity's Rainbow," "Golden Skans," and "It's Not Over Yet" range from brisk, witty pop to radiant ballads, but they all boast hooks and melodies that many of Klaxons' more straightforward indie contemporaries would be proud to call their own. It's a little uneven and definitely not the reinvention of music as we know it, but Myths of the Near Future is a strong enough debut to survive a level of hype that has crushed other bands, and enjoyable enough to return to when the hype dies down.

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