Klaxons : Myths of the Near Future
A friend recently assured me that people still go to raves, although anymore the prospect just makes me want to curl up with a bottle of water. Also, my glowsticks are packed away with my Jarts. This brings me to nü-rave, a term coined by Jamie Reynolds, bassist for Klaxons, British band of the nanosecond. Furled at the forefront of a UK dance-dance revolution to which perhaps nobody will even come, the Klaxons full-length debut Myths Of The Near Future hits America approximately…now with every intention of rousing the day-glo minions from their cotton-mouthed comas, having already achieved the same thing, more or less, in Britain. It’s also the sharpest bit of forthright silliness since the Darkness, robed in dreck, reimagined optional orthodontia and made me late to go vote for John Kerry. To put it another way, The Rapture never sounded so good.
Essentially Myths Of The Near Future is a dance record gone bad, which isn’t to say it’s all bad. Leaking from beneath those garish hoodies is a cultivated binge of well-mussed arcana and scientific dithering that’s indicative of heads being in the right places, and that’s groovy and everything. But if there’s a discernible difference between Klaxons and Iron Maiden, I’m gone on it. All the cosmological inferences and mythological winks, consistently hurled in the upper register of choir-like vocals, make your head hurt and well, then you can’t concentrate on the snare sound, which is quite good most of the time.
“Totem On The Timeline” boasts a nonlinear Gang Of Four trajectory but starts with the following lyric: “at Club 18:30 I met Julius Caesar/Lady Diana and Mother Teresa“—military time is sooo confusing, not to mention Gianni Versace would have made better, if sicker, sense in that juxtaposition. “Gravity’s Rainbow” suspends a chaotic river of piano over a hulking bassline but all it can manage by way of wisdom is “come with me, come with me/we’ll travel to infinity,” which, impressively, is both dumb and heady.
I suspect Myths Of The Near Future would be less difficult to absorb if it were dance music in the same way that Radiohead’s “Idioteque” was dance music–in full smirk, shoplifting on a security camera. Reynolds, quotable chap that he is, has insisted that he and his mates ‘take having fun pretty seriously’ the absolute reality of which absolutely kills whatever joy Klaxons sought to distill.
“Atlantis to Interzone,” the second track and early single, is the high point of the album, not merely because it’s the only one to feature actual klaxons, in a frantic intro. It’s a fast hiccuping flashbulb of a song that shows off every glint of this three-piece’s artillery and nearly beats Death From Above 1979 at its own game—it’s death from 1980, if you will, or even if you won’t. On the next song, “Golden Skans” the vocals get girlier and sixties-like, the beats per minute lower drastically, and the admonishment “forget all future plans” rolls off several seductive tongues at once—I should point out that I have no idea if Klaxons has an actual singer. At this point, ante summarily upped, the record dwindles to madcap nonsense. “As Above, So Below” resets Low-era Bowie as dinner theatre. ‘Magick’ is a revving spit-gobbet of a tribute to rock occultist Aleister Crowley, which is nice because I’d sort of forgotten he existed. Although I suppose that’s as strong a point as any in favor of Klaxons and their brainiac revisionism.
Primal Scream – Screamadelica
Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine
Wire – Chairs Missing