The Leeds based band Klammer was formed in 2014 by British
producer and sound engineer Steve Whitfield (The Cure, The
Mission), Paul “Poss” Strickland, Bruno Almeida, and Mike Addy.
They have been described as the lovechild of XTC and Gang of
Four, with elements of goth rock, punk, darkwave, and post-punk.
Most importantly though, they absolutely rock. These guys are
rising stars in British alternative music. If you are a fan of
Joy Division, The Damned, The Stranglers, Bauhaus, David Bowie,
or any of the post-punk and alt-rock early classics, you’ll
absolutely love Klammer’s new album “You Have Been Processed.”
Much of the sound, vibe, and atmosphere of Klammer is
reminiscent of the post-punk and early goth sounds born in the
late ‘70s – early ‘80s. It does not, however, feel forced or
stuck in the past. The album is authentic and fresh. It utilizes
the classic stylings of the post punk golden age, but it does
not copy or attempt to woo listeners on some nostalgic trip.
Klammer picks up the mantle where the greats left off; greats
that Whitfield himself helped produce. Post-punk and the purer
goth sound which hurled us into melancholic and brooding worlds
built on percussion, synth, and chord back in the 1980s, have
more they can reveal to us. There is much fruit left on the
tree. Klammer is a leader in the revival of killer sounds from
the past, while also forging a bold path into an unknown future
and musical landscape.
The catchy, dark, sometimes angular sound and progression
of “You Have Been Processed” is an emotional roller coaster.
Sometimes it has us head tucked between our knees in despondent
malaise. The next moment we’re front to back, side to side,
cutting across the floor with the volume turned up. It bounces
between heavy and melodic. This fluid soundscape is what makes
an album into a living work of art. As a full package, it takes
us to the depths and limits of human expression, human despair,
human joy. Instead of a bundle of one-off hits, it is a story,
an audible sculpture, guiding us through many lands. Klammer is
a band for the listener with the refined palette, but they never
miss a chance to throw in a good hook and a few dark pop gems.
“Coast to Coast” leads in with a mysterious ambiance. The
sound feels like a thick fog. I imagine the band entering
through through this fog as the set opens. It progresses into a
solid rock anthem with catchy hooks and poetic, powerful,
brooding lyrics that repeat “Washed away…never to be seen
“Modern God” alternates between a dark and disturbing
spoken word and a gothic chorus which has hints of the rising
indie-darkwave scene (TRST, Cold Cave, and Ashbury Heights).
This song feels modern (pardon the pun) and fresh. It carries
hints of the classics but is a solid mash-up which bends the
rules and blends a variety of styles to create something new
from the ashes left behind by the masters of ages past.
“No Memory” starts with a hybrid psychedelic/darkwave feel
fading into heavy drum lines and angsty half-spoken punk-styled
lyrics. The chorus trades off with sharp angular guitar riffs
backed by drum/snare progressions and edgy basslines. This may
be the least post-punk of all the tracks. It isn’t anything else
that I can exactly place my finger on either. I have a deep
appreciation for undefinability. It keeps the music unique and
it has us on our toes, unable to contain it in any particular
“Mechanical Boy” is the darkest, most depressing cut. The
instrumentals tell the intense melancholic tale of a boy trapped
within his own mental/emotional prison. The atmosphere creates a
perfect setting for this tragic world. It just feels hopeless,
defeating, painful, a lost cause. I also feel the urge to shake
the boy, whoever he might be and jar him from his living tomb.
“Baddest Parts” is the most punk-rock track in that
distinctly 1970s style, with spoken word over heavy riffs. This
is for the mosh pits.
“Tonight” blends dark pop with classic gothic basslines and
muted lyrics. It’s a darkwave dance track all the way.
“Human Clay” is another dark and brooding track that drags
the mood way down. The soothing melodies and piercing lyrics
over low tempo instruments turn us into human clay to be molded
by Klammer’s enigmatic style of sound.
“A Long Cold Summer” closes out the album and for good
reason. The simple harmonies fronted by hypnotic and repetitive
lyrics remind us over and over again: “Life will be the death of
you.” As the track winds down, the words and instruments fade
into the abyss, just like us.
Klammer is definitely climbing the ranks. I hope we get to
see a lot more of them in the coming years. They are reviving a
classic sound that is far from finished putting us in strange
alternating states of melancholic trance and fluid dance
frenzies. Simultaneously, they are injecting new life, new
energy, and an authentic twist with new hybrids, new
instrumental progressions, and new angles on the darkness that
epitomizes the frail human condition. I am excited to be along
for the ride.