Klaxon 5




live review


London University Union

ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY falls on the Klaxon 5's pair of male singers. The one on the left wears shades and an overcoat. I speculated that beneath it he was totally naked. His vocally busier colleague stretched and coiled his arms as If shadow mud wrestling (ie a not very graceful movement) and possessed the stamina in the biceps to maintain such gestures throughout.

I was impressed! Together they were like a pavement level double act, their intuitive rapport doubtless sharpened by summer seasons at the nation's top bus stops.

On the right was a third singer, a blonde female with an earring, high skirt and low blouse. She provided, I suppose, the Bucks Fizzual element – when she tapped her foot a ripple ran up her thigh just so. Again, I was impressed.

Similarly, the music of the Klaxon 5 (and there are many more than five) is divorced from the obvious, the usual expectations of "showtime". They are neither innovators or originators but function as subtle absorbers. They cast a wide net across the troubled world of pop, draw in a few of its eccentricities and reassemble them in a type of mock(ing) cabaret.

Their tunes are cutely danceable, catchy but seldom trite, often vamped up with the country twang of a Gretsch guitar or the sleazy whoop of a baritone saxophone. Yet oddly beneath all this entertainment and deceiving politeness lurks a malevolence as if.. the Klaxon 5 hate the audience! (Meanwhile the audience love them.)

I can't quite place a finger on the Klaxon 5 and therein lies the key. Their talent is to generate a confusion. A strangely amiable confusion. Their "potential" is both a promise and a threat but whether they'll match the curiosity of their live set with vinyl of consequence remains ponderable.

When they performed their new single I closed my eyes and saw Modern Romance. When I opened them (quickly!) I saw the Klaxon 5 – an odd band becoming odder. I still don't know whether I liked them. I'm not sure whether I should.

This could be a compliment.


mick sinclair

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