Klone - Meanwhile review
|Release date:||February 2023|
01. Within Reach
02. Blink Of An Eye
07. The Unknown
08. Night And Day
Who would've thought that the great gig in the sky was actually a bear all along?
At least as far back as Tool's Undertow, alternative rock has been one of prog rock's most prolific partners in blends. The sound somehow ending up with either of its parts in a somewhat territory often lead to a lot of prog rock bands that could pass of as prog metal bands, while also not having to overdo the technicality due to relying on alt rock's sense of catchy melody. Play around with the alt/prog/metal parameters of this equation and you'll find ways to reach Porcupine Tree, Karnivool, nu-Katatonia, Soen, Rishloo, and the like. Of course all of this is a bit nebulous genre-wise, and that's a bit reductive since it discounts how much influence other genres like art rock or post-rock or post-hardcore or gothic rock might influence the sound, but having Klone here it's a pretty good example.
Klone are a pretty heavy band. A lot of their riffing is pretty chuggy and that distortion is punchy enough to scare your neighbours, but they're also not heavy in the way you'd be inclined to call them more of a metal band than a rock one. They're the kind of band you'd double check to see if they are on metal-archives or not (they are, but probably because their early albums were closer to groove metal than this newer sound. But even in their current sound, they're the kind of nebulous heavy prog rock sound that you would find appealing to metalheads, even at their softest. But even the prog tag is a bit nebulous. The band is not the kind to venture very far into longer form songs, preferring the 4-7 minute songs, and while the sound is pretty intricate and lush, it never feels like technicality is too big of a focus in Klone's music. There's something that feels really safe in this catch-all sound that has such a wide appeal, but there is something that makes Klone, and by extension Meanwhile feel so appealing.
Klone's biggest selling point is Yann Ligner's emotional and instantly striking vocal performance. With the songs being so direct, a lot of them rely on that vocal performance, and while the voice is instantly recognizable, it does lead to some slight monotony when the album is taken as a whole. That's an issue that also seems to stem from the album's flow focusing more on mid-paced songs that end up feeling a bit too one-note in the long run, even if they'd be perfectly fine taken out of context. So while, as a whole, there's something that keeps me from enjoying Meanwhile to the same extent that I enjoyed Le Grand Voyage (the album I discovered the band with), there's so much in terms of great moments in Meanwhile, like the brass in "Elusive", the saxophone in "The Unknown", and the huge chorus with the huge backing guitars in "Night And Day". The lush production and the balance between the direct and patient in the songwriting is something of a winning formula in Klone's sound in general, and the splash here is still much above average. The splices of extra instrumentation always feels like a nice plus, but there's still an overreliance on the more standard Klone sound that keeps this from having the impact it should.
In the end, the meandering impression is still pretty vague. I never finished a playthrough of Meanwhile thinking that that wasn't time well spent. But an impression is still an impression no matter how vague.
||Written on 21.02.2023 by|
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