Monday, March 21, 2016

Requiem for the Klaxons


I revisited Myths of the Near Future by the Klaxons over the weekend. There I was, driving around town in my little black Volkswagen, drumming on my steering wheel while listening to Magick at far too high a volume. It was amazing.


Myths of the Near Future turned nine years old in January, and in hindsight, it's a pretty easy album to criticise. Many of its tracks - especially Totem on the Timeline, Atlantis to Interzone, and Isle of Her - are very simplistic in terms of musical content, with very little progression to speak of. The lyrics deploy a lot of weird imagery and arcane literary references, but none of them seem to mean anything; sure, lines like "come ride with me through ruined lipglock" and "gravity's rainbow, the axis here is still unknown" make the Klaxons sound very clever and well-read, but like the cut-up photographs on the cover, they amount to little more than a jumbled collage that bears only the slightest resemblance to anything you can relate to.

In spite of this, though, I *love* Myths of the Near Future. The gibberish lyrics and the repetitive minor-key riffs evoke a kind of doomy, apocalyptic feeling, like you're attending a rave at the end of the world and there's some crazed doomsday prophet rocking the mic. And while the Klaxons may not know how to write a symphony, they know how to deploy the tools they've got to maximum effect - just check out the drop at 1:39 in the video above (and be sure to crank up the volume when everything kicks back in!)

Of course, the sad thing about Myths is that the Klaxons never delivered on the enticing promises that it made. I barely remember their second album, Surfing the Void; Valley of the Calm Trees is quite a good song (although, having just listened to said track for the first time in a while, it does sound more like Bloc Party than I previously noticed), but the rest failed to stick in my memory at all, I'm afraid.

Still, that's more than I can say for the band's positively tragic final album, Love Frequency. Here's the artwork:


That design says it all, really - just look at how soulless and sanitised it is compared to the fantastical space-bug on the cover of MythsLove Frequency is the Klaxons drained of colour like a calf is drained of blood before being butchered; it's like it was recorded by Stepford clones of the nonsense-screeching neon weirdos who came up with that first LP. The strange, dark magic magick that made Myths of the Near Future such a compelling album had disappeared entirely, and it was frankly no surprise when the band announced that the Love Frequency tour would be their lfinal run of headline shows.

With this in mind, perhaps it's time we all starting viewing Myths of the Near Future in the same way as this XKCD strip views The Matrix:

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