I Am Kloot

For a pint-sized, snot-nosed little scruff from Hyde (UK), John Bramwell has a hell of a way with words, a voice like a fallen angel and a genius for penning twisted torch songs laced with gorgeous melodies. The son of a band leader and a famous northern medium, Johnny spent his teenage years picking out tunes on borrowed guitars, busking on the streets of Paris, Athens and San Fransisco. But it was while working as a gig booker in Manchester’s famously bohemian Night & Day Cafe that he recruited bassist Pete Jobson and drummer Andy Hargreaves and I Am Kloot were formed. The name was apparently not Johnny’s first choice. “I was sat in a bar with John one day and he says ‘I’ve got it, I’ve got it. I’ve got the name.’ And I’m like, Right! Great! Let’s have it!’ And he goes, “I am John…”

The band played their first gig in 1999 to a packed-out Night & Day, then released a couple of swaggeringly good DIY singles (To You/ Titanic and Twist/ 86 TVs) on the local Ugly Man label – the latter spawning the ‘There’s blood on your legs/ I love you’ line which has been so consistently identified with the band’s kitchen sink aesthetic. The debut album Natural History appeared in March 2001 on Wall Of Sound’s We Love You label, recorded by Elbow mainman Guy Garvey. The NME called it “a mystical, rapturous, staggering declaration of love.” City Life magazine called Johnny “the best songwriter in Manchester .” “For whatever reason, the strong point of Natural History was that people did find it refreshing,” Johnny says now. “In its sound and in its whole approach.”

The band embarked on a series of increasingly successful forays into Europe, which have given rise to emotion-swept gigs in kellers across the continent, and airplay across the dial. “We did this gig in Paris and Johnny was singing Twist and we just got it,” recalls Pete. “This sort of growl in the voice and then the volume went up and it just hit you. It was emotionalising for any fucker that was there. You see bands all the time, great bands, and they never get a moment like that. But that’s always been the most exciting thing for me, even as a kid, and to hear a band that I’m involved with do that is fucking brilliant.”

It was signing with Echo Records and the release of second album I Am Kloot (US Jan 25) which has raised the bar so spectacularly for the band. In the band’s native Manchester, the twelve-track long player has become as notorious for the manner of its making as it’s been praised for its jukebox-of-heartbreakers track list. Singles Untitled #1 and Life In A Day attested to the growing range and confidence of the band: the former a tender, Revolver-esque dirge, the latter a swanking slab of big chorus radio-candy. Uncut awarded the album four stars, describing I Am Kloot as “about as good as the whole guitar/bass/drum thing gets.” The NME called Johnny “Britain’s most able lyricist .” Check the press clippings and read for yourself a succession of British rock writers trying to convince you that this band is a little bit special.

“It’s something hopeful and almost naive,” said Johnny of one of his songs, recently. “It’s only in the context of the bleakness and the quite filthy passion at the core of us, that when we present something that naive and that simple that it really gets its charm and finds its beauty.”

I Am Kloot is:
Andy Hargreaves – Drums
Pete Jobson – Bass Guitar
John Bramwell – Voice/ Guitar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *