First published by greenmanmusic.biz
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I often feel that an equally pertinent motto could be beauty is in the ear of the listener (or words to that effect, I am not much of a philosopher). This occurred to me whilst listening to The Servants, the second album by London based alt-folk band Klak Tik. It is also often said that true beauty or perfection always has a flaw that serves to strengthen the impact and with this collection of songs that is certainly the case.
Whilst it is a work of beauty, this is tempered by some moments of darkness, giving it a delicious contrasting nature that keeps you involved. An understanding of the recording of the material gives you an interesting idea of how these contrasts may have come about. The recordings were started off in an old chapel on the rugged Welsh coastline, as the band absorbed the idyllic scenes surrounding the chilly winter sea. But this only brought out part of the bands essence, so upon returning to the metropolitan bustle of east London they spent more time locked away and have surfaced with a record that certainly captures the natural solitude and freedom of the former, melded to the struggles and realities of the latter.
The foundation of the songs tends towards that now ubiquitous acoustic, whimsical folk style but to differentiate them from the plethora of acts who clutter the genre they are shot through with other elements; vocal harmonies that sound stolen from 60’s pop songs one minute and from Gregorian chants the next, psychedelic moments of celestial swirling weirdness, often tuneful but sometimes jarring horns, passages that appear torn from the score of a dramatic piece of musical theatre. It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen but works with breath-taking ease. Nothing is crowded out, over played or unnecessary, the balance is perfect. Structurally the songs move with the freedom of a feral cat, taking twists and turns that seem random but go exactly where they need to. The linking mechanism that ties everything together is the wonderful, perfect voice of Danish main man Soren Bonke, flowing over, around and through the songs.
So if you want a record that will be a fascinating listen, combining some of the more outlandish inputs of years gone by with some of the more rustic ones of contemporary times, but united with impressive songwriting and musicianship then get this one. If a challenge is not what you seek in music, then I suggest you go about your business, this is not the record you are looking for.
The Servants is released on March 5th on Safety First Records
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