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KLAMMER – You Have Been Processed (Album Review)

KLAMMER are: Poss (Vocals/Guitar), Steve Whitefield (Guitars/Vocals), Bruno Almeida (Drums), Mike Addy (Bass).

It’s been a busy year for KLAMMER as they continue to raise their profile. With the release of two singles prior to the album being launched, it’s been enough to whet the appetite. “Modern God was released in May, followed by Spiral Girl in July and now, the 10th August, saw the general release of their third album, You Have Been Processed.

Coast To Coast

An eerie haunting start to the album before the cutting edgy bass and hard hitting kick and snare dominate the opening few bars. Guitar and Synth are there in the mix and continue the haunting echoes from the start. The vocal delivery is strong and demands attention. The chorus of Washed away, washed away…..never to be seen again” rides over some great soaring guitar chords. At the break the lyrical, almost poetic words  “Ship to Shore, No High Tea’s on High Sea’s… confused by semiphore, nothing is quite what it seems”. This is a strong opener with enough content to draw you in. The production of the album is perfectly balanced and lends itself for the music to be disseminated clearly as there is great separation.

Modern God

The first single start from the album starts with a single strummed chord. There’s a great set of edgy, slightly crunchy chords that run up/ down a scale as some echo’s notes hang in the ether before a punchy kick drum and driving bass accented by crisp high hats match the opening chord sequence. The bass and drumming is tight and precise. The bass has menace to it. The vibe of the rhythm section has an early 80’s post-punk feel. The bass has that classic Fender Jazz sound. The picked guitar reminds me of Lu Edmonds (Public Image Ltd),  especially the work on the album This Is Pil. The guitars clean and wonderfully effected sound has me hooked.

What sets one band apart from another is often the singer. This band have that. The tone and cadence make it easy to follow the lyrics, that was the easy part, now the content. I actually want to “get” the lyrics. Often, I am more than happy with the music to groove to, but the words have me intrigued. There is a story being told here, a very familiar one but it’s in disguise. Life’s portrayal on social media these days is so false and an undercurrent of despair is but a breath away, this is how I am feeling as I listen to the lyrics. There’s a gothic feel, with talk of angels and devils, and a modern god, but at its heart is a simpler message. Lyrics are better when not taken so literally to get across a meaning and like all great songs, it keeps you guessing as to its true definition.

Modern God 

No Memory

The song kicks off with a Bossa Nova drum intro contrasted by a hard-hitting indie beat with the bass to the fore again; I’m hearing tones of early Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand but with more of an edge. The vocal drives the song accented by cutting chords that cut and slash throughout the song. 

Spiral Girl

The second single released from the album, another bass driven song but this is their signature and it works. Drums are tight and compact. The guitars are the highlight of the song as I feel 80’s influences of Robert Smith and John McGeoch. If Siouxsie were singing this, it wouldn’t be out of place as a Banshees song. There’s a very catchy chorus but it’s the magical short burst solo’s that steal the show in the song, not the “Spiral Girl”. 

Spiral Girl 

Mechanical Boy

There’s a definite change of approach with this song. Again, the 80’s alt/indie feel is here as the picked guitar sound similar to that of Geordie from Killing Joke morphs into a James Dean Bradfield style lead break. The production is also similar to that of the Manics from their Gold Against The Soul period. This is a story of a lonely boy living in his very small room. Perhaps autistic or self-induced reclusiveness, it’s descriptive and somewhat sad but there is a great energy in this song.

Baddest Blocks

More of a rock/punk feel to this song as it describes the “scheme life” of living in the Baddest Block of an urban desolate city. You had some nerve but ever enough, you had some scars to make you feel tough” – “High Rise Living with high rise pain”. Great cynical lyrics and a message to those living the fake gangster lifestyle.

Tonight

Clean cut guitar breaks the silence. The single notes of the lead guitar fight for attention with the vocals that are half spoken/sung. Multi layered guitars work very well in the song. There’s a bass break solo near the end, which sounds like a cross between Simon Gallup/Peter Hook. Perhaps a follow up to the previous song where the disillusioned youth are on the streets.

Common Sense

Any band that has a prevalent bass with a real edge to it will at some point draw a comparison to Jean Jacques Burnel of The Stranglers. Perhaps this song more than any other on the album reminds me of the early 80’s Stranglers albums. The angular chop chords are not unlike those of Hugh Cornwell. Another great lyrical display as the chorus and verse shows a change in dynamic. 

‘Twas But A Magpie

The drumming comes to the fore as heavy use of the toms at the start and at the chorus, break the straight beats of the verse. The guitar follows the vocal during the verse to good effect until some wonderful lead work at the break which continues throughout the song. Gothic and dramatic, you can visualise the Magpiecircling above in search of silver and gold. The song will draw you in with its mystery. Another classic Cure style solo at the end.

Human Clay

The tempo drops on this song. The emotionless drum machine start is contrasted by an angst-ridden tone in the vocals as we hear We’re all human clay. This changes as the song progresses to where the kit overrides the drum machine and vocal delivery becomes more passionate. Where there’s a will there’s a way” being the message of this song, we can break the mould of living day to day.

Production

There’s a subtle beginning to the song as muted chords and light drumming ramp up to match the demands of the opening lyrics. Are we are but machines that fail the stringent scrutiny of the system. The dark feel of the song is that of an endless plight for freedom. A protest song that calls for a rise against the machine/the system, Work, work, work, die

A Long Cold Summer

The repetitive picked chord hangs in the air at the intro. It continues as the upbeat tight drumming is contrasted by the slow deliberate spoken voice. “I’ve been dialling up your number” the song describes the ending of a relationship, perhaps bitter and antagonistic, “Long Cold Summer – Life will be the death of you” fades to end but never a truer word said.

There are some instant favourites on this album. There’s edge and menace but masked by some wonderful harmonies created by voice and guitar. There are also some slow burners on the album that will have you hitting repeat more than once. I for one will relish seeing KLAMMER live to see them reproduce this great album.

https://klammerband.bandcamp.com/album/you-have-been-processed

https://www.facebook.com/klammerband

 

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