Since the famous 1964 “British Invasion” in the United States with the Beatles, British Rock has evolved into mainstream and has significantly contributed to the development of American and global rock music. Although British alternative rock scene is completely different than American rock scene, British groups are accountable for the creation of what has become globally known as alternative rock, post-punk and indie rock.
In fact, British alternative rock scene has always been ahead of its time. And how can it not be with exceptional groups like The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Clash and so many others in the late 70s or later with The Smiths, Oasis, or New Model Army. In the late 90s/early 00s, I AM KLOOT and iLIKETRAINS are two great British bands, which are fairly viewed as two of the most important groups of contemporary British alternative rock scene.
I AM KLOOT
The vocals and guitar of John Bramwell and the bass of Pete Jobson were pretty much known in alternative Manchenster when Andy Heargreaves joined the club as a drummer to form I AM KLOOT. Their first 7″ double A side single “Titanic” / “To You” in 1999 established them as a “promising Manchester group” with clear influences by The Go-Betweens. Their rock is perceptive, dark and self-sarcastic, honoring its origins and having nothing to be jealous of the passion and the energy of their great ancestors. I AM KLOOT is genuine children of the Manchester scene that has given birth to great punk, post-punk and alternative bands including Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Smiths, Oasis, Doves, and many others.
Their latest release “Sky at Night” (2010) is their more mature effort since their debut album “Natural History” (2001). Bringing all their experience on the table, Bramwell, Jobson and Heargreaves create straightforward, elegant music that mostly reminds the Beatles interludes throughout the entire album. All these diverse elements are skillfully mixed producing a great release that is totally worth listening.
Having achieved so much during this decade, I AM KLOOT continue their voyage, offering an inspiring melancholy that so much entices their audiences making them wanting for more by this beautiful Manchester group.
Formed in Leeds in 2003, iLIKETRAINS are another great example of what British alternative groups can do if they set their minds to quality. In spite their weird name iLIKETRAINS have achieved so much in so little time, mainly because they are, without any doubt, one of the most important groups of British post-rock. Their first two singles, “Stainless Steel” (2005) and “Before The Curtains Close Pts 1& 2” (2005) caught immediately the attention of the independent record label Fierce Panda. Under this label, iLIKETRAINS have released two albums, “Progress Reform” (2006), and Elegies To Lessons Learnt (2007). Both albums have added value to a music genre that seemed to be missing something in spite the great efforts of Godspeed You Black Emperor and Sigur Ros to whom iLIKETRAINS are often compared to.
Besides their melancholic, intensively melodramatic and often epic sound that captures the audiences and the critics around the world, iLIKETRAINS differ from other similar groups that are often carelessly baptized as “innovative” or “great new hopes” of post-rock. The exceptional vocals of David Martin, their unique stage presence that is characterized by theatricality and the strong contact with the audience have elevated iLIKETRAINS to another level. Although the atmosphere of their songs is dark and their thematology is rather unpleasant with lyrics that describe the fire in London, the murder of the British PM Spencer Perceval, the Iron Curtain, massacres, famines and paranoia, iLIKETRAINS know how to make good music and mostly how to convey their message to their audiences.
Their latest release “He Who Saw The Deep” (2010) is another great work by the group from Leeds. Taking their music a step forward without alienating themselves from the known pathways, iLIKETRAINS have a created a more atmospheric album with more immediate guitar sessions and softer tunes.