Boomkat Product Review:
Techno-pop shapeshifter KLO meets Lasse Marhaug for an absorbingly gauzy 3rd album of unbuckled structures and expressive sound design, marrying Celtic mysticism and industrial dream-pop experiments nodding to TG and Enya.
Five years since her eponymous debut of puckered dance-pop songs, KLO yields the loosest, dreamiest conception of her style in ‘LP.8’, a very easy-on-the-ear suite of exploratory, studio-as-instrument craft benefitting from co-production by Norse polymath Lasse Marhaug. The album’s nine parts gently but intently flip preconceptions of KLO’s style into more etheric zones somewhere between the enigmatic song crafts of Susanna or Jenny Hval, Julia Holter’s oneiric early works and more brooding technoid-cinematic horizons. This switch in stylistic direction can be attributed to Kelly’s spontaneous decision, prompted by the pandemic, to board the last flight out of London to Oslo, where she holed up in subzero midwinter to coolly reassess and approach her music from alternate angles. The result oscillates her most sanguine and spacious works with an agitated core, reflective of a burning but unhurried mind tapping into its creative subconscious.
Simply put, don’t expect ohrwurming club cuts, as with previous KLO albums, but do expect a strong quota of spectral energies at work that are sympathetic of needs for time and space to think. Her thumping opener ‘Release’ is a gritty red herring for the rest of the album, giving up the club ghost in its exhaustive mantra before conducting a cleanse of energies from the greasy slump of ‘Voice’ to the raw electricity of ‘Sonic 8’, meting out grizzled ambient gunk in ‘Voice’, and going like Nate Young channelling Welsh myths in ‘Anadlu’.
The centrepiece couplet of the soaring ’S.O.’ and the Reese-streaked ‘Olga’ depicts her most widescreen, northerly visions in a contrasting flip of the weather vane, with the lilting keys of ‘Nana Piano’ giving way to the mountaintop kosmiche vision of ‘Quickening’ and the album’s standout torch song of sorts, ‘One’.