Release Date: Jan 21, 2013
Record label: Shepherd Moon
After what seemed a lifetime of endeavour, high quality endeavour it must be pointed out, Manchester’s I Am Kloot finally registered on the UK’s national consciousness when their fifth album Sky at Night received critical acclaim and ended up being shortlisted for the Mercury Music Award, this almost ten years after the release of their debut album Natural History. I’ve been hooked on I Am Kloot ever since that first album and I found it somewhat ironic, that, in my eyes, success had come relatively late for Johnny Bramwell and gang and with arguably their weakest album. It should be pointed out here that I Am Kloot’s weakest album would feature as a career highlight for most bands in the acoustic-folk-indie world they inhabit.
If ever there was a band destined to be forever tagged as outsiders, it was I Am Kloot. Their songs were grand, occasionally beautiful, but they spoke of dark subjects – broken romance, bitter characters and long regrets, tailoring the Manchester three piece to an audience predisposed to one too many and three day stubble. A running joke at Kloot gigs comes when singer John Bramwell declares the next number to be all about drink and disaster.
For a long time, it seemed Manchester trio I Am Kloot were destined for eternal cultdom, despite releasing a slew of critically acclaimed albums. However, thanks to the success of the then-recently anointed Elbow – who have always owed Kloot a sizeable debt – their fifth album Sky At Night finally saw them bring in some crossover appeal and some commercial success. Now, with Let It All In, they have a chance to cement it.
For this follow-up to I Am Kloot's lush and focused 2010 Mercury Music Prize-nominated album Sky at Night, the Manchester indie trio wisely retained Elbow's Guy Garvey and Craig Potter as producers. However, while that record gave the Johnny Bramwell-fronted band's sound a game-changing, string-laden makeover -- in the process nodding to Robert Kirby's work for Nick Drake's Bryter Layter -- Let It All In is a comparatively down-to-earth affair. Understated and succinct, with minor flashes of the band's trademark eccentricities, the spotlight here is most certainly on the material rather than how it's presented.
It was with their fifth album, 2010’s ‘Sky At Night’, that I Am Kloot became more than just three dudes from Manchester who drink ale with Elbow’s Guy Garvey. Eleven years into their career they deserved the Top 30 record and the Mercury nod,if only because they try so hard and John Peel liked them. With this, their follow-up, they’re in familiar miserably poetic folk-song territory.
It would take a stony heart to begrudge Manchester trio I Am Kloot their 2010 Mercury nomination and modest commercial success after more than a decade's toil. But this follow-up doesn't allay the suspicion that it has as much to do with the patronage of Guy Garvey (who produces again here) as the band's own qualities. The best of these blues and folk-indebted songs carry the faint warmth and reassuring whiff of an old pub as frontman John Bramwell reflects wittily on life's disappointments.
On ‘Let It All In’’s intimate opening track ‘Bullets’, we find John Bramwell in contemplative mood, feeling isolated and neurotic. Yet as the song unfurls you can feel a gentle optimism seeping through.It seems to encapsulate what I Am Kloot are about. It took them five albums and the ….
A consistently intriguing album which may prove more enduring than its predecessor. Jeanette Leech 2013 “The future keeps coming,” warns I Am Kloot’s frontman, John Bramwell, twice over the course of I Am Kloot’s sixth studio album Let It All In. On Hold Back the Night, he spits it: you must fear and fight the future, he seems to tell us; you must grasp whatever crumbs you can from the present.