Music Reviews
Surfing the Void

Klaxons Surfing the Void

(Polydor) Rating - 8/10

Klaxons specialize in bangers. Massive, uncompromising experiments in stadium-shattering sing-a-long bombast, they’ve assaulted the British charts for a good reason, their spectacle-first substance-later methodology of songwriting has done them a lot of favors commercially. They haven’t done too badly with the critics either, as Myths of the Near Future made a surprisingly good name for itself, even in the usually apprehensive American music press. Their knack for uber-energetic emo-electro has done a lot for the band, especially when you consider that it’s under the weight of only one LP.

Three years later we have Surfing the Void, a record that once again splits the difference between maximal French House and aughtie UK chart-indie – all treble-blared and falsetto-voiced. Klaxons continue to sound like a band with a genre all to their own. Passion Pit and The Rapture might have the same basic idea, but those two bands are far meeker when compared to the sheer scope of what Klaxons try to do. Surfing the Void is not an album that tries to hook the listener in. The mix is muddled, fuzzy, a concoction of brown-level bass, shrieking synth, and austere guitar shrills – it’s not something you’d expect out of a band that ostensibly plays pop music, but all of that sound is really easy to get wrapped up in.

Surfing the Void might have a problem with redundancy, after all, most Klaxons songs sound more or less the same – but taken as bits and pieces, these tracks are remarkably strong. The high point for me ended up being halfway-marker Venusia, a song that essentially extracts the best parts about Muse and surgically implants them in a much more fun-oriented environment. Twin Flames is the band’s Electric Feel, a disco-leaning dancefloor-ready jam that doesn’t have any of the high-drama vocals that many find irritating about the band. Everything moves at the same frantic pace of course, I don’t think Klaxons have slowed down for a second since their inception – Surfing the Void coasts through at a cool 38 minutes, but the amount of different sounds, crescendos, and bridges you hear in that span is earnestly mind-boggling.

It is certainly not an album for everyone, like before I’m sure plenty of people will find this album utterly infuriating, and Klaxons waste no time trying to throw those people a bone. They play directly to the people willing to get swept up in a communal euphoria, and they do that very, very well.