And Also the Trees

The Klaxon

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The Klaxon kicks off with a spindly, spry, though still downbeat tight groove for a jazzy, late-evening number, "Sickness Divine," with Simon Jones singing the line "Aimlessly I roam/Without you girl," instead of folkloric, strange figures; a just-this-side-of-sleazy trumpet on "The Soul Driver" -- is this the same band? Very much so, strictly speaking. Far from making a radical change, the Trees simply brought in some different sources of inspiration -- small nightclubs where the cigarette smoke hangs heavy as well as windswept moors and, to quote "Sunrise," "the floodplain" and "the wooded hill," Fitzgerald as well as Wordsworth. The loungey-tribal percussion on "Jonny Lexington" adds both an ominousness and a fresh edge to the Justin Jones guitar vibe, while a ringing, repetitive guitar riff drives "Dialogue" much more so than the more readily expected reverb strum, and "Bullet Head" almost sounds like a Morricone spaghetti western tune. The classic Trees' sound still clearly presents itself at points, though while "Sunrise" starts with another fine duet between voice and guitar by the Jones brothers, gentle string synths and soft but persistent keyboard beeps and bloops help to flesh things out, as does one of Justin Jones' best-ever guitar solos, a searing, piercing thing. Simon Jones tries out more smooth singing than he'd yet attempted, notably on "The Dutchman," with a nicely soaring though not bombastic chorus. The CD ends with "The Flatlands," another wonderful moody swing of a number. The Trees keep on keeping on just fine.

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