So, with the dreaded Covid (seemingly) almost over, those in the music industry are getting busy. Not least Leeds finest purveyors of all things Post/Punk and Dark/Pop. Never a band to sit still, this quartet in a relatively short space of time is already at album number four. This collection is classic Klammer but more an album of two halves, as I will explain…

The album opens with “Pass the Test”; with its waspish, chiming guitars as Poss’s (vox) now familiar drawl enters the fray. Strangely, for the first time ever I detect a slight Bryan Ferry influence in the vocal. The song lends itself to that whole mid-80’s sound emanating from Goth nights the length and breadth of the Country. A chugging drumbeat (Bruno) holds the main beat within the song but those unmistakable chimes are the overriding feature. “I Really Want To Believe” follows with its swirling bass (Mike) and guitars (Steve) and its layered vocals. More magical chimes here and a haunting depth to the vocal within the verses. Lyrically about sitting on a pile of lies hence the chorus “What does it all mean”, I’m just not sure we find the answer?!

“Progress (Or the Lack of)” – one might question whether this was written with our Government in mind? Recent single “Progress…” is the band in their best finery. The vocal almost spoken word – slow/fast, layer upon layer. Cymbal-heavy in the engine room and additional loops, squeals, and squalls. Poss’s powerful bellow ups the ante towards its conclusion but those effervescent chord structures are rather striking. “Broken Dreams In A Crashing Car” sets the template for (IMO) all future output from Klammer. A more Poppy affair with drum intricacies; searing guitar hooks and yes, an almost spoken word vocal. Beyond that, the song returns to familiar territory where the vocals become more dark and brooding. Again cymbal-heavy, allied to Steve’s squally guitar lines and Mike’s subtle bass. It’s no wonder this was the lead single, it perfectly encapsulates everything about the band.

“While You Sleep” is an altogether slower number, a step back from the power – the mid-set breather song (if you like). Musically it slowly meanders, allowing space for the vocal to take centre stage. The heavy bass in the brief early bridge ‘sets a scene’. Said bass steps up latterly and rises above, alongside the dark moody vocals. “The Blind Leading the Blind”, a song about media manipulation that opens with a great guitar intro; evolving into those chimes, alongside a regimented snare pattern. Spoken word again before really opening up. It never quite reaches the heights, happier to remain slower and lo=fi. The bridge is Banshees-esque while Poss latterly pushes the vocal more. And staying with the Banshees theme, “The Insider” reminds me of “Spellbound” with its driving beat. The chimes blend equally with the squally hooks, alongside the deep moody vocal. Those guitars twist and turn throughout as the pounding drums hold the main beat – John McGeogh comes to mind, while the ending is just sharp.


“A New Direction” – quite literally self-explanatory! Immediately I’m reminded of Joy Division and Depeche Mode, too obvious maybe – you the listener can decide?! It’s paired back; slower, experimental even. The vocal urgency kicks in then becomes spoken word (again). There’s some interesting percussion while the bass notes in the background remain subtle. The chimes make a welcome return, coursing through to its conclusion. On reading the insight into the album tracks, one wonders if “Oblivion” is written with our ‘great’ Prime Minister in mind. A terrific chime-driven intro; layer upon layer, backed once more with cymbal-led drumming – there’s a certain negativity I detect in the lyrics. And staying in a similar ballpark “I Wish I Could Bring You Back” is a song about loss and yearning.

At a risk of repeating myself, the spoken word approach is present once more. And again the energising guitar notes are a throwback to The Banshees while the subtle hitting is aligned to a gentle vocal. The lyrics while coming across as very personal have a heartfelt honesty that one suspects may be self-autobiographical. The bridge echoes Joy Division once more, stretching out into a squally yet haunting finale. This is perhaps your ‘thinking man’s Klammer song’!

“Heartworm” employs a flabby bass intro as Poss adopts a more radio-friendly style of vocal – audible and precise. A tale of love and loss which never quite rises, the vocals deliver an aggrieved longing latterly as the song winds to its conclusion. “Limbic Pastime” has a rasping bass intro which sets the tone. Powerful vocals, layer upon layer with varying chord sequences, and gentle drum tapping that hold it all together. The industrial bass sound in the bridge is terrific – another nod to Post/Punk’s First Wave. “Alone” remains in the same vein – searing chords, hooks, crashing cymbals amid intricate percussion. A precise, authoritative vocal sets the tempo for the perfect album (or live set) closer. Briefly, it comes alive and I’m reminded of New Order (musically), but the similarities end there.

When I first met the band some eight years ago, I complimented Steve on how much I loved his Banshees-esque guitar style; while recognising the other band member’s offerings. In this collection I am hearing much more of this sound. Four albums in and Klammer continue to deliver. The themes may well be getting ‘darker’ but there’s no let-up in their output. At the start, I said this is an album of two halves and my opinion hasn’t wavered. The classic Klammer (of old) is displayed on tracks 1 to 6, while darker more personal themes are there for all to hear on the remaining 7 tracks. Klammer is pushing their boundaries yet further, I just hope they continue to embrace a wider audience.

Track Listings
Pass The Test
I Really Really Want to Believe
Progress (or the lack of)
Broken Dreams in a Crashing Car
While You Sleep
The Blind Leading the Blind
The Insider
A New Direction
I Wish I Could Bring You Back
Limbic Pastime

Klammer are
Band Members
Paul (Poss) Strickland (Vocals/Guitar)
Steve Whitfield (Guitar/Vocals)
Mike Addy (Bass Guitar)
Bruno Almeida (Drums)


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.