Tonight, Klaxons are airing new album Surfing The Void in a venue so small it’s almost possible to touch them. They’re not only back, but they’re back with a new album that knocks the socks off last one.
Three years ago, in 2007, Myths Of The Near Future seemed like an impossible task to follow, an album that burst onto the scene so fully formed it was hard to see how they could possibly sustain the quality, let alone develop and improve.
After all, Klaxons were the end-of-the-noughties antidote to The Strokes and The Libertines for people who liked The Strokes and The Libertines but occasionally wanted to dance the night away completely off their tits on industrial strength MDMA. They were the band that fused guitars and dance in a way that made New Order sound like a hippopotamus with tonsillitis stuck in the middle of a haystack. They seemed too good to be true or, at the very least, too good to be able to hold that quality for more than one album.
Against all odds, tonight proves that Myths wasn’t a one-off. Klaxons have returned triumphant. Dressed like extras from a Duran Duran video (New Moon On Monday, to be exact), with bass lines plucked from the wet dreams of Joy Division and channelling the spirit of Paul Oakenfold, they glide effortlessly from rock to rave to punk pop and back again as the tightly-packed audience sways and jumps before them.
Amazing fact of the night: a neatly trimmed beard does Jamie Reynolds the world of good. He’s still the yang to James Righton’s impossibly pretty boy ying, but the combination works fantastically: Reynolds adding weight and substance while Righton brings a delicate, glittering sheen. Simon Taylor-Davis still needs to get his hair sorted out, but that’s all part of Klaxons’ charm.
Of course, we know roughly what new album Surfing The Void will sound like by now. It’s heavier, rockier than before, a more mature album that lays the foundations for the future as the band grows up, shot through with plenty of flashes of pop brilliance that force the audience to reach for the impossibly high ceiling through the shimmering sea of emerald lasers.
Valley Of The Calm Trees, on the other hand, seems to go out of its way to spit on its own name, a psychedelic whirlwind that screams through this intimate warehouse, swirling uncontrollably from the floor to the rafters.
The strength of the new material is easy to measure, particularly when held directly against its predecessors. Gravity’s Rainbow, As Above So Below, Two Receivers, Magick, Golden Skans and It’s Not Over Yet all come out to play tonight. Measured against them, the new material is more complicated, more complex. Twin Flames is particularly beautiful, Reynolds and Righton harmonising perfectly to produce a sound that’s too clever by half over lyrics that prove the point.
In the midst of all this It’s Not Over Yet becomes the ideal set closer, a screaming defiance to anyone who doubted their ability to come back better than before. Then, as if they haven’t done enough already, they encore with new album title track Surfing The Void: angular, pulsating and full of nervous punk energy, it’s cut from the same cloth as Atlantis To Interzone, making the old favourite the perfect song on which to end the night and disappear into the darkness. Klaxons are back, and everything is right with the world.