CD Review of Myths of the Future by The Klaxons

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Myths of the Future
starstarstarstarstar Label: Geffen
Released: 2007
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The British press just have to invent a name and category for everything, and the harder it is to classify a sound, the dumber the name it is eventually given. (Anyone remember trip-hop?) The latest catch-all term coined by the Brits is “new rave” (or “nu-rave” if you’re a flipping moron) which they’ve applied to any band that seems to even remotely embrace punk rock and electronic dance music. The people who think this is new have obviously never listened to New Order, B.A.D., Public Image Ltd., Devo, or the Talking Heads, but don’t expect a rock critic with a deadline and an over-zealous imagination to think rationally.

Ever since being appointed as the spokesmen for this “new” style of music, the Klaxons have gotten a lot of press. As we’ve seen in the past, hype doesn’t always mean success, let alone a good album (Razorlight, Orson and whatever band that drugged-out mess Pete Doherty is in right now all come to mind) but the Klaxons, with their fantastic debut record The Myths of the Future, don’t fall into that category and instead can be lumped in with the few hyped-up bands from Europe that actually meet expectations (Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys).

They start things off deceptively though, with “Two Receivers,” a track that has more in common with the Editors or She Wants Revenge than anyone you might hear tearing up the dance floor. But as “Two Recievers” fades into “Atlantis To Inerzone” all that goes to hell and before you know it, sirens are glaring, a vocal sample is declaring praise for the DJs and The Myths of the Future explodes into a glorious combination of keyboards, samples, guitar solos and jarring, screaming vocals. The KLF would be proud.

The rest of Myths of the Future straddles the line between those two extremes. Songs like “Golden Skans” and “Totem on the Timeline” really set the mood for the rest of the album. Fast-paced with clearly more of a punk than a dance influence, the electronic overtones might not be very apparent to the casual listener. It’s only after a few listens that the prevalence of samples, synthesizers and drum machines really begins to sink in. There’s some alternate universe where Ian Curtis didn’t die but New Order somehow formed and this is the kind of music they are playing.

Truly the Klaxons are one of the first bands to so successfully embrace the sound of '80s dance groups like New Order while still maintaining some sense of individuality and adding their own spin to the sound. Nowhere is this more apparent then on “Gravity’s Rainbow,” the band’s first single and the best song on the album. A more electrifying combination of guitars and dance music hasn’t been heard since the Propellerheads’ big-beat rave classic “Bang On.”

Damn it. Maybe those bastards of the British press are on to something by labeling the Klaxons as “new rave.” When listening to Myths of the Future the prevailing feeling is that of a late-'90s rave hosted by Distintigration-era Cure, or a My Bloody Valentine practice session that mysteriously fell into a time warp and landed in Orbital’s studios. Myths of the Future is energetic rush of a record that is one of the first excellent albums of 2007.

~James B. Eldred