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Landmarks of Lunacy EP

[Self-released; 2010]

By ; January 19, 2011 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Klaxons boast on their website that Landmarks of Lunacy is the release where they ‘let the music do the talking’. They seem pretty impressed with this short, five-track EP, and want to share their new music with their fans for free. This approach should be lauded; free downloads are always appreciated, especially when there’s enough content here to warrant a full CD release. At just over twenty minutes, this release will likely please fans of the British group.

But the music itself isn’t anything special; it’s just more of the same Klaxons that you’ve heard before. It sounds less chaotic, for the most part, than their recent, somewhat messy release, Surfing the Void, and does a good if not exceptional job of keeping Klaxons relevant in the music world today. These songs, although repetitive on first lesson, eventually become quite addictive. Album opener, “The Pale Blue Dot” features relatively soft percussion, breathy vocals and a scorching guitar on the chorus, which may not have the sing-along quality of some of Klaxons more recognisable songs, but doesn’t suffer on repeated listens.

“Silver Forest” is somewhat enchanting, demonstrating Klaxons natural affinity with combining vocals and melody. Guitars come in at just the right time, and the subtle piano in the background adds enough mysticism to the track to keep it suitably eerie. Meanwhile, “Ivy Leaves” has more of an atmospheric, electronic feel, creating a hazy reverie built upon the lament, “The situation built on trust/ Will in fact endanger all of us”. Klaxons certainly enjoy their ambiguous lyrics, and they also have a habit of repeating the same statements more times than we perhaps, as listeners, need to hear.

Which is perhaps one of the biggest issues with Lunacy and extends to Klaxons as a band in general. They can be praised for sticking to their guns and avoiding typical indie conventions – they do sound relatively unique – but that doesn’t necessarily make them enjoyable to listen to. Vocals often sound spoken rather than sung; tracks blend together without much to differentiate them. It was an issue with Surfing the Void that still rears its ugly head now.

Klaxons are clearly proud of Landmarks of Lunacy and it’s easy to see why; unable to release these tracks under any other medium, but still wanting to show the world that they can experiment with unusual sounds and melodies, the free-download option works in their favour. Fans will undoubtedly enjoy these new Klaxons songs, and “Marble Fields” especially deserves a mention as a stand-out track. Nevertheless, Klaxons won’t be making any new friends with this release, and it doesn’t really move them forwards in any dynamic way. It’s a typical Klaxons release with the typical Klaxons fans in mind. Your enjoyment of this EP will therefore be based entirely on how much you liked Klaxons already.


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