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I Am Kloot, Let It All In (Shepherd Moon)

Even a 2010 Mercury Prize nomination for Sky At Night couldn't lift I Am Kloot out of Elbow's shadow.

Given free rein, the Manchester trio lean towards a lounge jazziness underpinned by John Bramwell's reedy soul voice, while the Bury quintet display prog tendencies beneath Guy Garvey's flights of altar-boy fancy; but with Garvey and bandmate Craig Potter resuming production duties here, there's a gnawing sense of one band stamping their sound upon the other. Indeed, when the distorted guitar/sweeping strings kick in on Hold Back The Night and These Days Are Mine, it's a literal Elbow in the listeners' ribs.

Elsewhere, the reverb guitar and familiar melody on Even The Stars is nothing less than an Echo And The Bunnymen pastiche. There are heavy hints, too, of The Kinks and The Beatles on Mouth On Me, Shoeless and Masquerade – but this is where Let It All In is at its best, proving itself to be a better pop album than its acclaimed predecessor as it strips away inflated studio overdubs and lets the songs do the talking. One to squeeze between the Hawley and Weller CDs on the shelf.

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