‘The Performer’ is the both the debut solo album from Klaxons’ James Righton, or it is the follow-up to his earlier album as Shock Machine. It’s definitely the primary album by Righton to take his identify quite than a moniker. On it he tries to resolve his internal conflicts between the variations he sees in his on a regular basis self and himself when he’s a performer. The persevering with wrestle to correctly and successfully discover a harmonious psychological stability between the 2, generally disparate, states are what contributes to a cohesive thread that runs by way of this album.
It’s fifteen years on from James, Jamie and Simon forming Klaxons, 13 years on from the band’s Mercury Prize successful debut album ‘Myths Of The Near Future’, seven years since Righton turned Mr Kiera Knightley and 5 years since he turned a father for the primary time; it is also 5 years since his band successfully cut up up. Without exception, all of those components come to play an element on his newest launch. Whether it’s the apparent tracks such because the title observe or the tender, laid-back string enhanced ‘Edie’ – a track written about his daughter – or the marginally much less apparent ‘Are You With Me Now’, all of them tie in to the theme.
Questioning whether or not he is nonetheless obtained it or “misplaced his recreation”, whether or not or not it was all a dream, whether or not or not it meant/means something and whether or not or not he is residing life as finest he ought to are usually not unusual musings for anybody, but it surely does make for fairly a self-centred, selfish album. Long gone are the chopping electro-pop fuelled tunes that seize you from the off and speed up onto a hook-laden dancefloor stuffed with Nu-Rave. Righton is now taking a extra thought of, almost all the time much less business and apparent route together with his new album. It’s nearly as if he is intentionally making an attempt to distance himself from the very factor that he and his band have been synonymous for.
The foremost exception to this, considerably paradoxically, is the title observe: ‘The Performer’. The album’s opening observe, launched late final 12 months, sits nearly on the suitable facet of the Mika/Metronomy see-saw. The wannabe showtune has an nearly irresistible undercurrent and a really theatrical bent. The close to sleazy construct and break make for fairly a flamboyant, seductive begin to the album and the added percussion and brass undoubtedly add to its pull. ‘The Performer’, nevertheless, is just not consultant of the final temper and really feel on the remainder of the album.
Righton does get extra animated elsewhere on the album however by no means so successfully. On the throwaway jangly pop tune ‘Start’ and on ‘See The Monster’, the place using some very evocative and cinematic strings assist the story-telling unfold, James touches on former glories however in a brand new guise. On ‘Heavy Heart’ although we see a sluggish, gentle, quietly melancholic remorse while ‘Are You With Me’ we see components of despair.
James Righton’s newest album is well-produced, well-arranged and put collectively very proficiently and professionally. It does, nevertheless, really feel somewhat soulless at occasions and somewhat too manufactured. There are some good songs on ‘The Performer’ however not sufficient to make it an excellent album. Despite James Righton’s undoubted pedigree and the assistance of Sean O’Hagan, James Ford, Jorja Chalmers and Josephine Stevenson, this isn’t Righton’s best work so far.