Forgotten Works, Remembered

Throughout the ‘Cappuccino’ campaign we have focussed upon movies, documentaries, commentaries and music which accentuate creativity, social interaction, emotional and energy. The core traits associated with Cappuccino drinkers. Klaxons 2007 record Myths of the Near Future oozes these traits and some more. But don’t take the Ear-drummers word for it. This record won the 2007 Mercury Music Prize. An annual accolade bestowed on inventive acts such as Primal Scream, Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, PJ Harvey (twice) and Dizzee Rascal.

The members of the London collective known as Klaxons were: Jamie Reynolds (bass, vocals); James Righton (synth, vocals); Simon Taylor-Davies (guitars) complemented by live drummer Steffan Halperin. The genre of music they created was playfully christened ‘New Rave’ by the Angular Records founder, Joe Daniel. The name stuck. This record was produced by James Ford who continued to work with the band on subsequent musical outings.
Myths of the Near Future has a strong early 90’s rave / dance scene influence mixed with Reynolds heaving bass guitar and the synths of Righton, taking the listener on a futuristic ‘melodically mad’ journey. Mirroring the duration of the original rave scene, the ‘New Rave’ genre heralded by Klaxons was short-lived, but no less inspiring. The band themselves suffered from the quintessential ‘difficult second album’. Searching the Void (2010), never reached the heady heights of their past glories. 2014’s offering, Love Frequency, was received even less warmly. Accordingly, the band called it a day in 2015.

Myths of the Near Future is an excellent record. For a short time that Klaxons were pioneers, they created their own musical genre. Others weren’t able to follow them. In fact, they weren’t able to follow themselves! Enough wallowing, root out the whistles and glow-sticks from the bottom of the wardrobe / back of the sock drawer, it’s time to go clubbing ….’Near Future’ style.

Two Receivers:
A brilliant opening track. The song transports the listener to cosmic lands beyond where a ‘troublesome troop are on safari’. Imaginatively speaking, it’s not too far off Bowie’s Space Oddity. Musically, it is different, unsurprisingly, but no less enchanting and intriguing. The track, like ‘Oddity’ has an impending sense of dread…

Atlantis to Interzone:
This was the second song by Klaxons to get released. ‘Where’s the whistles?’ This track announces what was referred to as ‘New Rave’. The opening samples take the listener right back to the grotty, sweaty warehouses of the early 90’s. The song is a rhythmic rave bomb which takes an almost comedic desperate turn into Mexican guitar loop insanity. The mania is amazing in it’s ingenuity.

Golden Skans:
One of the most recognisable offerings on the album. The Ear-drummer bets you have heard this song before, but you just don’t know where (or who sang it at the time, for that matter). It’s the signature song from Klaxons, and it won many awards for them, including the inarguable NME USA Best International Song award. Still don’t really know what a ‘Golden Skan’ is! Like the album title, it’s a transient contradiction. A destination, cleansing of memory, cleansing of the soul. ‘A hall of records, of numbers, of spaces still undone, ruins, relics, disciples and the young’.

Totem on the Timeline:
As the name on the record suggests, there is a common thread throughout – it’s a reminiscent journey into the future, the near future. ToTT is another energetic fun offering. Sure, what’s not to like about an opening line like: ‘I got an eighteen-thirty on the Julius Caesar, Lady Diana and Mother Teresa’. This track feels like Blur on steroids, it has the cockney charm in spades with the rhythmic energy of Song 2 thrown in for good, good measure. This is a London Underground hoot. Mind the gap.

As Above, So Below:
This song has a contemplative, retrospective feel to it. Being a Klaxons track, and judging on previous experience, the listener is never really secure in the direction the track will take.

Isle of Her:
As the opening line suggests, the journey has slowed right down, as we ‘Row, there’s only seven more miles to go’. Our ‘troublesome troop’ (it seems) are on the way to the Isle of Her, where through mechanical melodies and Reynolds strong bass guitar, sirens await. There is a ‘New Romantic’ (not Rave) feel, in the Human League/ Depeche Mode sense. On the Isle of Her, our adventurers will find ‘peacock tails, mothers of pearl and dancing girls’. ‘Just keep going, there’s only seven more miles to go…’

Gravity’s Rainbow:
Reynolds bass guitar explodes into energetic bliss. The bass is back, but not in the rave sense – the ‘New Rave’ sense. Melodic in the ‘House’ scene, sprinkled with echoes of Happy Mondays, this track is best served live, as can be attested from their performance on the Jools Holland show.

Forgotten Works:
The journey continues, yet again, into new ground. It feels like the second chapter to the opening sorte ‘Two Receivers’. Our ‘troublesome troop’ find themselves on an unsteady footing (again): ‘light the bridges with lanterns, you know something is going to happen’. Unlike the opening track, however, Forgotten Works is less appealing, it doesn’t have the depth of emotion previously experienced.

After the lull of Forgotten Works, Magick speeds the tempo right back up. It brings us to Mother Goose, to suck an egg, to golden dawn and then to Koh Phangan’. There’s a ‘full-moon’ party feel to this track. Brilliantly fast. Brilliantly ended, almost without warning. Brilliantly setting up the next track…

Not Over Yet:
As cover-versions go, this is ‘Magick’! The song itself is a contradiction. Klaxons have maintained the core feel and emotion from the dancefloor filler Grace original. And yet, the Klaxon interpretation is to increase everything that resonated from the original. There is added depth, pain, danger, hurt. Perhaps, musically, Grace could only take the essence of the track so far electronically. Klaxons squeeze so much more from the foundations, through the added instrumental elements. Every time the chorus comes around, there’s an added intensity to the one before. It’s fantastic. A ‘New Rave’ anthem. The standout track on the album.

4 Horsemen of 2012:
Have you ever heard the myth of the near future? The one about the 4 Horsemen? The urban ‘Myth of the Near Future’. ‘There’s half man, half horse, who still runs through my thoughts as he rides on a flame in the sky’. You didn’t honestly think a Klaxons record, this Klaxons record would finish meekly? Far from it. This song is the perfect way to close out the record, with perfect lunacy.

‘Won’t you please catch that horse as he murders my thoughts….I’m left with the fragments and flames…’
We arrive at our destination as the record closes. Battered. Bruised. Dazed. Certainly confused! Like a bank-holiday drunk, seeking bodily maintenance in a mirror. What happened last night?

Everything in it’s right place. Ready to go again. Magick!