Klaxons-Landmarks of Lunacy
Record Label: N/A
Released: December 26th, 2010
As a Christmas treat at the end of 2010 the so called “New-rave/Nu-Rave” band Klaxons updated their website with a small gift for their merry making fans. This gift was lovingly wrapped in binary code, space oddity lyrics, sonic pleasures, and five previously unreleased tracks. The accompanying written piece stated: “There are periods of time that we have spent together as a band that the only suitable word that comes close to describing them is “Magical”. The three nocturnal weeks spent at Black Box Studio in 2008 under the loving guidance of James Ford was undeniably the point where the magic was peaking. [...] But what has remained hidden until this day is the music. Sometimes the only way to let a story release its full power and potential is to offer it up to the universe.” Sadly, so far the majority of the universe has been sleeping on this free offering to the celestial cosmos.
Landmarks of Lunacy is an obscure naming choice for an EP that rambles on for twenty-two minutes, but when you take a second to look back at the production that went in to its inception it becomes a lot clearer as to why this EP is a landmark for Klaxons. The songs presented in this package are one million light years away from the alternative “nu-rave” introduction fans received from the London based Klaxons on their 2007 debut Myths of the Near Future. These songs were famously abandoned after the first attempt at recording a sophomore effort due to their record label claiming the sound was too big a deviation from their unique original sound and to quote “too experimental”. Unique may be another word for “high selling” as the newly invented genre was the inspiration for a mass arrival of terrible bedroom synth/laptop bands. And let’s face it, we all got the haircut at the time.
The opener “The Pale Blue Dot” introduces the new anti-dance and psychedelic laced musings which comes equipped with paralyzing drumming and droning guitar riffs. The landmark attempt at a new direction was clearly too experimental for a fickle mostly European fan-base that unsurprisingly just wanted to dance and throw the occasional glow stick at lead-singer Jamie Reynolds head. All of the songs are enjoyable on this offering in some way, and I have found myself unable to leave the files alone since giving the record its first spin entering the New Year. There is something almost haunting at the prospects of this abandoned project’s potential direction. I get the feeling that mystery of “what if?”, by following the project through to the end may continue to haunt the alternative trio for a few more years yet. The provision of these tracks for free could almost be viewed an attempt at testing the waters for future releases with the response being the indicating factor for these lads. The lyric “Never trouble trouble, until trouble troubles you” from “Silver Forest” sounds suspiciously like a quote from their record label.
The closing song “Marble Fields” is over seven minutes long and is the real attention stealer for newly chilled out listeners. The song puts the merely good previous four tracks to shame and demonstrates the true essence of the project, and is the best insight into what the band had hoped to achieve in the recording of these tracks. It is very difficult to put to words the sonicscapes laced out on this track, but it is safe to say the introduction of delicate keys to accompany the whispy guitars and drawn out vocal work is excellent. The producer James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco fame is well hidden on these songs when you look to his previous dance orientated production efforts, which isn’t necessarily a problem. Overall, this EP should be viewed as a quintessential attempt of capturing sadness and beauty, but mainly as a bridging device between the debut and sophomore Klaxons albums. On Surfing The Void, their 2010 second album, the compromise between a psychedelic side and a record label enforced dance sound can now more than ever be identified as an artistic compromise.