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Friday, Aug. 27, 2010
By SHAUN CURRAN
Klaxons divide opinion like few others. Emerging in 2006 to a crescendo of hype, they were held up as leaders of the nu-rave movement even before their debut album "Myths of the Near Future" was busy thrilling and irritating in equal measure.
It led to much debate. The two opposing camps argued whether Klaxons were the pivot for an exciting new world or the worst of a bad bunch annoyingly smattered in Day-Glo, and whether their references to the cosmic and poet J.D Bullard were genuine or the worst type of in-joke. Even their gigs where heralded alternatively as era-defining moments or derided as noisy confusion where each member seemed to be playing a different song at a different speed.
Whatever your opinion, that they gave alternative music a kick into the bizarre is undeniable, and after pipping hot favorite Amy Winehouse to the 2007 U.K. Mercury Music Prize, a shock win made legendary by their inebriated acceptance speech, Klaxons had the air of a band who couldn't believe their luck.
Yet after the rise came the alarming fall, and Klaxons have spent the last 3 1/2 years redefining the term "difficult second album." Aborted sessions with music production luminaries Tony Visconti, James Ford and Focus came to nothing, and when they finally finished an album, their U.K. record label Polydor sent them back to the studio, reportedly telling them the material wasn't worthy of release and demanding something better. Ouch.
Such a dressing down did little to allay fears Klaxons were living on borrowed time, but second album "Surfing the Void," a denser, darker affair produced by Slipknot's Ross Robinson was eventually released, with critics as split on Klaxons as ever.
With few U.K. gigs this year before they head to Japan, what type of Klaxons will turn up is anyone's guess. But one thing is for sure: it certainly won't be boring.
Klaxons play Club Quattro in Shibuya, Tokyo, at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8. Tickets cost ¥6,000. For more information, visit www.club-quattro.com or www.klaxons.net