I Am Kloot - Norwich Arts Centre

With their bittersweet lyrics and ear for a soaring melody, it is a wonder that I Am Kloot haven't achieved bigger things since their 2001 debut.

Close friends with Elbow - Guy Garvey produced their latest album Sky At Night - the Manchester trio offer a similar line in anthems.

Frontman John Bramwell has the kind of gravelly, forty-a-day voice which shouldn't be capable of such elegance yet he pulls it off. This is what Bob Dylan might sound like if he had been born in Warrington and, instead of worrying about the civil rights movement, had concentrated on the foibles of daily life.

Whether it's stripped back ballads or jangly guitars which distract from the sombre lyrics, each track is perfectly composed. He introduces them with understated charm: 'This one is about drink and distruction', 'This one is about mental instability', 'This one is about televisions'.

To The Brink is a world-weary lament of a lonely night at the pub, the musical equivalent of a flat pint of lager. Somehow it's beautiful.


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Northern Skies meanders casually through a lifetime of regrets while the chiming opening chords of Proof raise hopes which are swiftly dashed with the melancholy line: 'Hey, could you stand another drink/I'm better when I don't think/It seems to get me through.'

But it would be wrong to dismiss Kloot as Mancunian misery merchants. They have a gift of telling inspiring stories without ever straying into the saccharine.

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This is a band which deserves to be playing on a far bigger stage than the Art's Centre - but conversely theirs is a sound which is right at home in such an intimate venue.

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