I Am Kloot - Let It All In

It’s hard to believe the band aren’t bigger, as this sixth album tries its best to reach for the illuminated sky and succeeds.

Label: Shepherd Moon

Rating: 7

On ‘Let It All In’’s intimate opening track ‘Bullets’, we find John Bramwell in contemplative mood, feeling isolated and neurotic. Yet as the song unfurls you can feel a gentle optimism seeping through.

It seems to encapsulate what I Am Kloot are about. It took them five albums and the release of their enthralling ‘Sky At Night’ to gain the recognition many within the industry thought should have been theirs. It saw them nominated for the Mercury Prize and their sales rise. Now is their slow-burning career ready to catch fire?

Listening to ‘Let It All In’, it’s hard to believe they haven’t been bigger. Welcoming and personal, Bramwell’s emotionally rich songwriting is both shrewd and warm, very much like their friends Elbow (the album was produced by Guy Garvey and Craig Potter) it feels intimate yet communal.

The record showcases the songwriting of Bramwell, with each and every song stamped with elegance and craft. At times it’s so polite and elegant it almost passes you by, yet on every song you’re soon gently overpowered by the sheer heart and homespun wisdom of the lyrics.

There are ‘big’ songs on here. The bluesy slow-burning ‘These Days Are Mine’ with the line ‘but I’m alive’ is both claustrophobic and widescreen at the same time, though the choral climax sounds so similar to Elbow that it’s slightly disconcerting. ‘Hold Back The Night’, the first single, showcases Bramwell’s voice in its stark northern majesty while the orchestral sweep at the end gradually adds colour and life.

Yet it’s the understated arrangements of the less epic tracks, such as the effortless flow of ‘Shoeless’ and ‘Masquerade’ as well as the gentle ‘Forgive Me These Reminders’ and ‘Let It All In’, that really provide the emotional thrust of the album.

It reaches its high point on the stand out track ‘Even The Stars’ which tries its best to reach for the illuminated sky and succeeds. It has the sombre mood of Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’ yet as Bramwell sings ‘Did you crack the sky wide open?’ it bursts into life. It’s a heart wrenching and beautiful ode to not knowing. Yet the light of optimism shines through. And that is the real secret as to why I Am Kloot are a band that so many more people are about to fall for.