Klammer – ‘You Have Been Processed’

By Sean Lewis

So, what the hell are Klammer? The Leeds four-piece formed in 2012 and have confounded categorisation ever since. They’re goths with the attitude of punks, with a pop sensibility. They describe themselves as “post punk dark pop”, but this only scratches the surface. Elements of noise rock, shoegaze, and garage rock can be heard throughout Klammer’s three full length albums. These guys have refined record collections, and they know how to use them.

‘You Have Been Processed’, the follow-up to 2016’s ‘Ausland’, see’s Klammer crank up the amps and provide a fuller soundscape than its sparse and fidgety predecessor. While they may lose punk points for actually making a well produced album, it becomes hard to deny the songwriting chops on display. The album kicks off with ‘Coast to Coast’, which is the sinister sound of an ’80s goth club meeting the snark of The Damned or The Stranglers. It also has a slight doo-wop influence on the chorus. There couldn’t be a better way to acclimatise the listener to the madness that is to follow.

From there, ‘You Have Been Processed’ explores the fringes of the punk underground. ‘Baddest Blocks’ is an unruly stomper that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Stooges album…or a Damned album…or an IDLES album. It’s nasty, sarcastic, and as fun as piss-taking punk can be. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the creepy ‘Human Clay’. The song feels downright claustrophobic, with its swirling guitars and downbeat bass line.

It’s a shame that ‘You Have Been Processed’ isn’t without its missed steps. ‘Mechanical Boy’, for all its “end is nigh” posturing, lacks a clear message beyond “technology causes isolation” (to which an audience of millennials respond with an emphatic, “yeah, no shit”). Then there is ‘’Twas But a Magpie’, which can only be taken as seriously as a song with the word ‘’Twas’ in the title can be. Lyrics like “’twas but a magpie circling around/’’twas but a magpie swooping down to the ground”, reach to be gothic but end up describing the activities of a literal magpie.

So, what the hell is ‘You Have Been Processed’? Well, don’t tell the goths, but behind the doom and gloom, it’s a fun tour through the best sounds of the UK’s underground. If you can handle a few lyrical clangers, this album is going to scratch that post-punk itch you’ve had since 1980.

SEAN LEWIS

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