Progression; the process of developing gradually towards a more advanced state.
Klone are a French band who have followed the path of many a band over the last 10-15 years and gradually moved from a heavy starting position to a somewhat lighter and more emotionally complex state. New album, Here Comes The Sun, is another chapter in a career that is 20 years old in 2015. And what an album it is. Full of delights for both the casual listener and those who like to delve a little bit deeper.
They don’t mess around getting your attention. First track “Immersion” is a song that, like a relentless tide, drags you deep in to the water and Yann Ligner’s hypnotic, emotive voice keeps you underneath the surface. Just as you think that this might be a beautiful place to drown in, we’re thrust to the surface again and led astray by an eerie rising and falling synth that weaves throughout “Fog”. Again, the voice is like a beacon that guides you, now through mist laden streets in a night-shrouded city. The rhythm section comes to the fore in this track. Ticking away in complex patterns in the background and supporting long sustained guitars and the synth. There’s a delightfully twisted waltzing breakdown in the middle of this piece that leads once more into a strong chorus.
RELEASE DATE: 24/04/15 (GAS) – 27/04/15 (EU) LABEL: Klonosphere and Pelagic Records
A lot of times I feel that there’s a nod towards bands such as Katatonia who also made that transition from more specific heaviness to a more commercial sound. It might just be my ears but I can’t help but think of Amorphis at certain points as well. That might be completely my imagination but I can’t escape it. It’s not just musically that the comparison to bands like this and even Anathema or slightly more progressive rock bands such as The Pineapple Thief can be made. It’s the production. Everything is crystal clear on this release. You might not hear everything at first listen but that’s because there is a lot to listen out for. At no point is anything lost or added for no reason. I love that there are tiny flourishes that passed me by on the first couple of listens but once I heard them, jump out each time. I particularly like to hear each instrument being given equal weight. Whether it’s the bass on “The Drifter” with it’s rhythmic hook and little runs, the drums on closing track “The Last Experience” or the guitars on “Grim Dance”, each one seems to take a little more of the ear’s attention where necessary.
At first listen I had thought the album was about a band supporting that impressive voice but I couldn’t be more wrong. The musicianship on this album isn’t flashy. It isn’t “in your face”. It’s mature. Listen closer to the layers of chiming clean guitars that hover like butterflies around the rhythm sections’ tight core. The additional layers of synth that are so fragile they can barely be noticed but contribute to the whole. Like motes of dust picked out as they are highlighted by the sun’s rays, there are many individual elements to the music that reveal themselves with subsequent listens.
One thing that I don’t fully understand is the album title. “Here Comes The Sun”. This album has some positive and upbeat sounding sections to counterbalance the band’s melancholy songwriting but I don’t understand what that title refers to. In no way does this detract from any pleasure derived through listening to the album, but if I were to pick a name based on the music, it might more readily be, “There Goes The Sun”.
Anyway, this is well crafted, well produced, atmospheric rock with progressive leanings. There’s nothing on hear that would offend anyone who likes a good solid tune and intriguing arrangements that keep the listener sinking deeper into the album’s spell over repeated spins. If there’s one thing about such a clean and crisp production, it might be that a bit of emotional variation is lost. When everything is perfect, it can start to feel a little bit repetitive on occasion. I suspect that this would be a different beast live with the audience able to observe a little more of the emotional rise and fall. That’s not taking anything from the performances on the album, certainly not the vocals, but some of the guitar sounds/levels (as an example) fail to add punch and bite where they might more effectively do so. And despite the songs themselves flowing nicely and having their own unique identity, I was becoming a little tired of the “formula” by the penultimate track. Everything is good but not always reaching brilliant. And this is highlighted by those shining moments, such as the already mentioned breakdown in the middle of “Fog”.
I’m not familiar with Klone’s back catalogue and deliberately haven’t sought it out before doing this review so as to be unbiased towards this album. I understand from reading that each release moves the band forward and on the strength of this album, they’ve clearly stepped up to a bigger league. I’m a big fan of music like this and yet, I’ve never heard of Klone before. Hopefully, with this album, they might reach outside the confines of the genre they were born in and reach a wider audience.