Jklmno - Transitions
Owain Paciuszko 21/12/2009
First up, the cover art for this release is particularly terrible, but never judge a book (see; cd) by it's cover, though I must say quite a few artists I've discovered over the years have been based on cover art impulse buys. Anyway, regardless, looking beyond the aesthetics, what are Welsh five-piece Jklmno like?
Opening track Oath of an Old Romantic has a indie-orchestral sound, that juggles backing vocals with skill over swashes of epic guitar and synth lines. Lead singer Carl Harrison has a fine voice that manages to emote effectively and carry the weight of the 'anthemic' segments, there's more fragility to his delvery than the soggy likes of Keane. Though their sound wanders closer to The Killers on a particularly saccahrine day.
Song for the Dead starts with a juddering synth line quickly accompanied by scatty drumming and lightly plucked acoustics, balanced excellently against Harrison's vocals. Like Newton Faulkner the lightness of touch works well thanks to a certain honesty in the arrangment, and when the song cuts loose it does so without an artifical coat of production sheen. We Know Ourselves has a slightly too cheesy dance-sound, it's beats are clipped and processed and it feels like a song constructed rather than crafted.
Closing track Son of a King eschews all that's gone before and droops into pop-balladry, a sombre optimistic piano is soon accompanied by a marching drum-beat which reminds of Coldplay's more recent, lacklustre stadium-fillers. It ends with a passage that reminds me of Kings of Leon's current forays into lighter-waving territory, and though it's well played imitation (unintentional or otherwise) it fails to grab in much the same way as the EP's opening tracks did.
An uneven record that sees a peculiar band faltering whenever their ambitions grow a bit beyond their reach.