It’s been a silly old 2013 round here. Stresses, strains, constant six-day weeks and a bit of soul-searching have been hammering away at the back of my head, with somewhat inevitable results. The weather not bothering to make its mind up about what it’s doing hasn’t helped the general feeling of unspecified malaise either, although that might just be the horsemeat in the lasagne talking (or neighing).
Thankfully a couple of major changes have taken (or are in the midst of taking) place, leaving a clearer view. And there’s also the arrival of this, which has helped rather a lot – a record that lifts the spirits by instilling a feeling of camaraderie and community by simply being itself, and that revels in the battles against the crushing normality of daily doings that get to us all.
“I kept the note you never wrote, and put it with the rest I haven’t got” opens Bullets and the album as a whole, and describes I Am Kloot’s standpoint for Let It All In rather perfectly – a voice from the wrong end of fortune, tempered with dark, knowing humour and a way with words that seem to have charmed our protagonists into more than their fair share of scrapes. There is a sense of continuation from their previous album (the Mercury-nominated Sky At Night, another huge favourite of mine), but Let It All In has a more close-knit feel than its predecessor’s romantic Granadaland Roadtrip cinematics (which is probably why it was always the go-to record whenever I was travelling), lending a further sense of intimacy from an already-confidante trio.
Like a North-Western English Twilight Singers in spirit, hitting the same parts of the ribcage from within (and with the occasional musical echo), I Am Kloot perform as though they have seen and been through it all and who gather their audiences in the darkened back rooms of late-night lugubrious establishments to share their stories of how they got to the end of yet another day, typified by the dramatic and noirish Hold Back The Night, closing with its bar room chatter. Even when they soar, as with the Final Act centrepiece and triumphant elevation of These Days Are Mine replete with middle-eastern strings that bring latter-day Echo & The Bunnymen to mind, there’s a sense of inclusion at its core that positively invites the listener up into the sky with them.
And I guess this is the point of Let It All In. Despite the sadness and drama, there is a silver lining everywhere you listen, the little victories gained from the mundanity of daily existence, the wealth of colour behind the drab beige. There is beauty in every beat here, and a celebration in just being people among other people, all trying to get from the alarm clock buzz to lights-out. This will be a favourite of mine for a long time to come.