It seems to be a great mystery why smug dullards like Elbow are packing out arenas when the infinitely superior Kloot are operating a couple of levels below.
This splendid live album provides the answer as the sort of people who love soulless stadium shows would pee their pants faced with John Bramwell’s twisted poetry and the subtle complexity this three piece generate in their songs.
Kloot’s live shows are stuff of legend as Bramwell’s raw emotion smacks you in the face on defiantly northern classics like the languid beauty of Let Them All In and the epic Lately. Throw in the bassist Peter Jobson and drummer Andy Hargreaves’ subtle playing and it creates an alchemy that makes you stop and listen even when their work is just rolling by on a Spotify playlist.
At heart Bramwell is a storyteller, but one obsessed with the darkness of the city and in the souls of his cast of characters like the woman in Twisted with ‘blood down her legs’ but the protagnonist still loves her. It all sounds grim, but is actually gloriously life affirming in a way someone banging on about a day like this in a sub Bono way never can be.
Hold Back The Night joins the pantheon of classic live albums because it is only when facing an audience are a band truly tested, and I Am Kloot pass with flying colours because of an often painful honesty and the cunning of their songwriting.