Review ·

Manchester has been breeding bands over the last year or two at a rate unfathomable to Americans who are still digesting the remains of whatever's last been chewed up and spit back at them in the world of pop culture. The most interesting -- and arguably unfortunate -- aspect of this onslaught is that the bands pummeling us with albums lately aren't even new. They're merely gaining the recognition that's been owed to them for a number of years. But with fellow Manchester residents Doves and Badly Drawn Boy (not to mention New Order, Elbow or the abundance of generally English bands), these groups are succeeding whilst in the right place at the right time.


Now six years old, I Am Kloot should be poised to share in that wealth. The trio is on its third album -- this self-titled work was released in the U.K. in September 2003 but was finally brought to the states earlier this year. Taking a major cue from Doves and possessing a vocalist (Johnny Bramwell) who receives the inevitable comparisons to Liam Gallagher, the band offers layered depth and an album that is perfectly arranged, even including two flawlessly placed ballads.

So why is it that I Am Kloot, musically talented and capturing all the necessary elements of a token Britpop band, keeps falling short of its prime moment? Maybe it's their perfection that prevents them from being lauded: They've got everything down to a formula. Perhaps if this formula were non-existent, and the band took some sort of risk, they'd be more memorable. Further, Bramwell's light nasal drone is a distinct vocal trait monopolized by Gallagher, who seamlessly blends with the gentle noise of Oasis. In a poppier band like I Am Kloot, the same tone only serves to keep the listener awake -- with an exclamation point if you're wearing headphones -- and quite frankly, a soothing tone of voice never hurts.

Should feedback from the self-titled work fail to carry any weight, the band can fall back on its third full-length, Gods and Monsters, released on Echo in April. I Am Kloot has the potential to stand out from their fellow Brits, but given their competition, they've got to take what made Oasis so memorable in 1995 and make it their own.

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