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Rock - Released January 1, 2000 | Wall of Sound

Easily one of the most accomplished bands of the new acoustic movement, I Am Kloot has created one of the better albums in the genre with Natural History. Songwriters John Harold and Arnold Bramwell strike a highly successful balance between folksy acoustic numbers and mini rock epics throughout the album's 12 tracks. Catchy vocal passages crop up left and right, psychedelic guitar passages mingle readily with moments of quiet sublime romance, and the band isn't beyond throwing in the occasional refreshing jazz arrangement. It's not surprising that the music sounds as lush as it does, since Elbow frontman Guy Garvey produced, engineered, and mixed the album, along with offering snippets of harmonica, sound effects, some percussion, and backing vocals. Acoustic guitars, a somber bass, and hushed drums percolate slowly as they twist and twirl around Harold and Bramwell's vocals. Imagining I Am Kloot as a darker, acoustic lo-fi Oasis would seem to be entirely appropriate, and not just because there's a resemblance in their Mancunian accents. But this is a mini Oasis that occasionally moonlights in Robyn Hitchcock whimsy. Lyrically, there are loads of bizarre things going on, with disarmingly quirky lines like "Will someone somewhere marry me... to you," "There's blood on your legs, I love you," and "Twist, snap, I love you," rearing their heads at odd moments. These are clearly chaps who know how and when to turn a killer phrase. As endearingly quirky as some of the songs might be, there's an ample supply of beautiful ballads on hand to vary the mood. Weird near-genius standout tracks "To You" and "Twist" sit perfectly alongside the sweet, perfect "No Fear of Falling" and the eclectic, jazzy wonder of "Sunlight Hits the Snow." One senses that Garvey may be responsible for the occasional lapse into realms a bit too epic, but he and the band always manage to reel songs back in when they get too bombastic. Smart, catchy, at times ramshackle, and at other times desperately atmospheric and exotic, Natural History is a wonderful debut album. © Tim DiGravina /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 13, 2015 | Walk Tall Recordings

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Rock - Released September 15, 2003 | Echo

I Am Kloot's self-titled sophomore album is an absolutely gorgeous expansion of the dark and fractured sound of the band's debut. Where John Bramwell and company explored twisted love and regret on the relatively sedate and folk-oriented Natural History, I Am Kloot explodes with scuzzy epic rock guitars and jagged basslines, adds ornate backing instrumentation, and fleshes out its songs until they bleed anthemic charisma and emotion. Producer Ian Broudie offers a hand at the production desk, providing a welcome sheen closer to his work with Echo & the Bunnymen than his own Lightning Seeds material. The album feels every bit a grand coming-out party on par with the Verve's Urban Hymns, where that band kicked its art into overdrive. Indeed, fans like the Gallagher brothers of Oasis fame and other A-list artists were seen crawling out of the woodwork to praise I Am Kloot and revel in the group's live shows at the time of this album's release, just as they did with the Verve. If the album's overall sound takes on a more neo-psychedelic and heavier feel than the debut, touching on influences such as the Hollies, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles, and maybe small doses of Sparklehorse and the Beta Band, I Am Kloot thrives most tellingly here on three superb highlights purely of the band's own creation. Album opener "Untitled No. 1" sets things in motion with a poetic combination of Bramwell's weary, pretty vocals and fascinating inflection, a spooky piano motif, and Andy Hargreaves' shuffling, wonderful drums. "Mermaids" is a chilling slice of sonic perfection as Bramwell's vocals slow to a crawl, a rattle of ghostly chains sits uneasily under pristine slabs of shimmering guitars, and a heartbreaking yet subtle chorus makes the song an instant classic. Immediately following "Mermaids" is the beautiful and rousing ballad "Proof," easily one of the prettiest songs of 2003, and along with "Mermaids" creating surely one of the finest one-two punches in ages. I Am Kloot is a marvel of emotion and mood, hitting zero wrong notes and positioning John Bramwell among the finest songwriters of his time. The album's timeless textures and nostalgic feel are likely to bother some listeners who might claim the music is unfashionable. Such a stance only serves to keep those listeners in the dark to some truly wonderful songs. Creating a masterpiece on its second try, I Am Kloot is earmarked as one of the most interesting bands of its time. © Tim DiGravina /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 19, 2010 | Shepherd Moon

Manchester-based alt-rock trio I Am Kloot's fifth long player is sentimental, elegant and drenched in booze, falling somewhere in between the autumnal twilight of the Clientele and the streetlamp glow of Richard Hawley. Sky at Night unfolds over a rainy, world-weary United Kingdom, and vocalist/guitarist John Bramwell, who delivers his lines with appropriate amounts of wit and worry, can sound like an English Willie Nelson, especially on the pub torch song “To the Brink.” As fellow northern Englanders, Elbow members Guy Garvey and Craig Potter know the landscapes that Bramwell and company draw their inspiration from, and the duo’s simple, reverb-heavy production work lends added weight to album highlights “Northern Skies” and “I Still Do,” resulting in a stormy, soulful and nuanced collection of late-night last spins that get better with each rotation. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 11, 2005 | Echo

With a title like Gods & Monsters, one expects I Am Kloot to pull out all the stops on their third album. Sadly, Johnny Bramwell and company seem asleep at the wheel, coasting lazily while offering what feels like 13-rough demos in search of hooks and compelling lyrics. Coming from a band that's known for off-kilter wordplay, musical immediacy, and dazzling changes of pace, these songs feel rushed and uninspired. "Over My Shoulder" might be the lone standout and perhaps the only song that recalls the charm of Natural History and the bright emotion of the band's self-titled second album. This is a band that in its press materials compares itself to Harold Pinter's realism in a world of Cecil B. DeMille mock-ups. These press materials also proclaim the band's "misanthropic and surreal wit" as a selling point, but there's nothing of the kind on display here. Instead, Gods & Monsters is an album of straightforward rock, pop, and folk songs that rely more on mood and atmosphere than on songwriting or melodies. The sparse production strives for the mad psychedelic vibes of the Franz Ferdinand set, but with most of the songs coming across like Badly Drawn Boy knock-offs, there's a constant sense that things simply aren't jelling. Instead one gets the impression he or she is listening to a series of jam sessions that never get off the ground. That Gods & Monsters isn't as warped and wired as the band's previous efforts shouldn't be mistaken for a newfound musical maturity. It's an album that's a step backward for a band that won its fans over with originality and songcraft. © Tim DiGravina /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 30, 2006 | Skinny Dog Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 21, 2013 | Shepherd Moon

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. Bramwell's deft acoustic guitar work forms the spine of the set, while the ever tasteful rhythm section supplied by Peter Jobson and Andy Hargreaves is given fair room to shine, just as it was on their outstanding Garvey-produced 2001 debut, Natural History. There's a sleazy, burlesque feel to the opening "Bullets" -- echoing that album's "Twist" -- which accentuates all the aspects of their knowing, brooding sound that can be regarded as uniquely Kloot: modestly delivered poetic wit, delicately picked guitar, carefully brushed drums, and melodic walking bass. Elsewhere, there are inspired and welcome reminders of Bramwell's favorite imagery, most noticeably on the tender and reassuring "Shoeless" where we hear: "Don't let the clouds clutter up your sky/Let the TVs turn off their weary eyes." However, as Let It All In reaches the halfway mark, although the ensuing material is equally inventive, there's the distinct feeling that I Am Kloot have decided to pay direct tribute to many of their northwest England forbears for the remainder of the record. While the elegiac "Even the Stars" approximates Tim Booth singing a different lyric to Joy Division's "Atmosphere," "Masquerade" unashamedly nails the Rubber Soul-era Beatles sound, right down to the nasally, Lennon-esque vocal delivery. Next, on the equally '60s pop-influenced "Some Better Day," we're treated to a full-blown, rainbow-colored, kitchen-sink drama in the vein of a latter period Davy Jones-fronted Monkees track, before "These Days Are Mine" ushers in a "Tomorrow Never Knows"-style drone. So, while overall, I Am Kloot's sixth album reads like a heartfelt and stylized ten-chapter celebration of classic pop -- with the opening half consolidating Bramwell's position as one of England's most unjustifiably overlooked songwriters -- it's only a minor disappointment that four of the final five chapters included here sail dangerously close to pastiche. © James Wilkinson /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released November 21, 2014 | Kudos

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Rock - Released April 13, 2015 | Walk Tall Recordings

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Rock - Released June 13, 2005 | Echo

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 14, 2008 | Skinny Dog Records Ltd.

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Rock - Released November 30, 2009 | Skinny Dog Limited

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Rock - Released September 15, 2003 | Echo

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Rock - Released September 15, 2003 | Echo

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Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Skinny Dog Records

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Electronic - Released January 28, 2013 | [PIAS] Recordings

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Rock - Released September 3, 2010 | Shepherd Moon

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Rock - Released May 28, 2010 | Shepherd Moon

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Pop - Released November 12, 2010 | Shepherd Moon

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Rock - Released February 26, 2015 | Walk Tall Recordings