Around for well over a decade, I Am Kloot are still really awaiting their moment in the sun. Kindred spirits (in sound at least) such as Elbow have risen to super stardom. Listening to their sixth studio outing, Let It All In, however you get the impression that with their particular style, this perhaps was never the intention.
That's not to call this band unprofessional. I Am Kloot deliver ten beautifully crafted, highly understated offerings on this record. Their tender guitar parts, melodic synth lines and muffled drum beats all come together into atmospheric, occasionally provincial sounding songs (see 'Masquerade' for example) that owe as much to modern folk as 1930s jazz.
It may occur to some a crushing stereotype to say that I Am Kloot's frontman John Bramwell's vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Alex Turner's ('Same half of the country right? Must be the same'). Yet there is certainly a similar vein of brutal social poetry on the likes of 'Hold Back The Night', even if in this instance its set to chiming guitars and cafe club bass lines rather than raucous guitar riffs.
At times though all the attempts at tenderness gets in the way of the overall effect. At times on this record every aspect of the music seems to be backing away from the forefront. The drums on 'Even The Stars' seem to want to at the furthest possible distance at the back of the mix, while the minimalist guitar part leaves singer Bramwell appearing somewhat bewildered in the spotlight of the mic.
Unfortunately this issue of seemingly trying to achieve the understated, replicated at various points across the album, eventually starts to smack of non-engagement. And in the end no amount of clever song structure and poignant lyricism can recover this record in my eyes.
In the end, I believe you really have to approach I Am Kloot from a position of love to get much out of this album. Their songs may be well sculpted but they're not going to wow or grab you. That may never have been the band's desire for this album, but no band can hope to live off the goodwill of the old fans alone. Given what other bands are doing out there, Kloot are going to to have to adapt if they want another ten years in the industry.