❉ Dark pop and post-punk from the West Yorkshire quartet’s fourth album. Ange Chan reviews.
Klammer’s latest album, The Day Before Yesterday is self-described as “angular and melodic with some uncomfortable notes”. Since they were formed in West Yorkshire in 2014, the quartet have meticulously crafted their own distinctive sound which is loaded with dark pop sensibilities and post punk references.
Formed by UK Producer Steve Whitfield (The Cure/The Mission/Jane Weaver) in 2014, they have already released three albums with last years’ You Have Been Processed receiving critical acclaim across the board. The singles Modern God and Spiral Girl both from that album, also received airplay on BBC6 Music.
For the uninitiated, Klammer are Paul ‘Poss’ Strickland on Vocals, Steve Whitfield on Guitars, Fender VI, Keys and Backing Vocals, Mike Addy on Bass and Drummer Bruno Almeida. They cite their musical influences as The Beatles, Bowie, early Roxy Music, The Pixies, Nirvana and some electronica like Kraftwerk and Boards of Canada.
Their first album Auslane was a happy mistake when Steve and Poss started to write songs together with no real intention of starting a band. It was only after they found they’d written a whole album of tracks that they decided to record their debut.
They released that album on Under Dogz Records in 2014 and started playing gigs after that. Having consistently played up and down the UK both as a headline act, and in support of some ‘big name’ bands (including The Skids, The Undertones, Richie Ramone, Chameleons Vox, Penetration, The Membranes and Ruts DC), they have also played at Rebellion twice, The Great British Alternative festival and Whitby Goth Weekend. Klammer certainly seem intent on consolidating their position as one of the country’s most prolific live post punk bands.
Moving forward to more recent times, they signed to Revolver Records (on their imprint Heavy Metal Records) and the first single was released in November 2021, Broken Dreams In A Crashing Car from the new album, The Day Before Yesterday which was released in February 2022.
A lot of musicians wrote music during the endless days of the pandemic, and Steve added that his was the case for Klammer too, “I definitely think the pandemic has influenced it and given it an even darker feel” he said.
Track One, Pass the Test opens with heavy guitars and drum beat reminiscent of The Cult, which instantly draws you into the track. The vocals by Poss could indeed be Ian Astbury as both singers have the same sensibility. This track instantly hooks me into Klammer and immediately, I want to hear more. The next track I Really Really Want to Believe continues in the same vein and instantly transports me to my rocky, heady days of Jilly’s Rock Club in Manchester where Klammer would’ve fitted right in.
Track Three is Progress (or the lack of) continues with the heady mix of guitars and a pulsating drum beat which carries the track along. Broken Dreams (in a Crashing Car) starts with a slower, less frenetic beat with the opening lyric ‘life begins at the edge of your comfort zone’ which builds as it progresses towards the chorus, before returning to the steady beat of the verse again. One of my favourites on the album.
While you Sleep is a more reflective song, slower in pace but not in impact, as the lyrics are more the focus of the track, taking centre stage on this song. The Blind Leading The Blind returns to more of a guitar-focused track with a political message. Whereas The Insider is a classic post punk track with an opener that channels Siouxsie and the Banshees (the McGeoch years). Another great track with lyrics on the darker side of the spectrum; right up my street!
Track Eight is called A New Direction which again has SATB sensibilities which will delight fans of the band. Another favourite for me on the album. Oblivion returns to the heavy screaming rhythmic guitars which take me back to the alternative club nights in Manchester which I so enjoyed as a young person; pure nostalgia and happy memories come flooding back. A great track!
I Wish I Could Bring You Back opens with a funkier refrain, and you can detect the influences of their peers in the first few bars of the song. It’s a lamentable song with dark, melancholic lyrics tied up within the music. Heartworm is another lyrically accomplished song, with bitter words that have a meaningful message to deliver of unrequited love. Limbic Pastime is the penultimate track which again reminds me of something by The Cult, which is no bad thing in my book! Klammer are an accomplished band that deserve any success that comes their way.
The album is completed with the track Alone which was the first song to be written during the first UK lockdown. This was achieved by the band members submitting their ideas and recorded parts remotely in order to stay socially distanced. The song itself tells the story of two brothers; the first brother stays in the countryside where they were born, while his sibling insists on taking his chance in the big city. The brother in the countryside sees his sibling return as a broken man, devastated, and disillusioned by city life and its people.
Steve said of the album “There’s much more space in most of these songs than the previous album, we purposely tried to leave more emptiness in them. The drums were recorded in three days at Loom Studio’s in Leeds, and then everything else was recorded at Steve’s Mead Studio.”
This album flows perfectly from one track to the next and is a cohesive mix for lovers of ’80s alternative post punk rock along the lines of Balaam and the Angel, The Mission and The Cult, and for those reasons I really really like it (see what I did there?!)
So, what’s next for Klammer? They’re currently in the throes of setting up a UK tour and also talking with a much bigger band about tour support. Check out their social media outlets below more information.
❉ ‘The Day Before Yesterday’ by Klammer was released via Revolver Records on 29 May 2022 and is available on CD and Streaming services. For more information, check out any of these social media outlets:
❉ Website https://www.klammer.co.uk
❉ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/klammerband
❉ Twitter https://twitter.com/klammerband
❉ YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/KLAMMERBAND
❉ Bandcamp https://klammerband.bandcamp.com/releases
❉ Apple https://music.apple.com/us/artist/klammer/579352463
❉ Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/klammer
❉ Instagram https://www.instagram.com/klammerband/
❉ Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/25buSKBb5QaT31p8vKpxTV
❉ A lifelong lover of music and prominent contributor to Me and the Starman (now available by Cult Ink on Amazon), Ange Chan is a Freelance Writer, having produced two novels and six volumes of poetry.