jklmno – The Race (LDP Records)

jklmno the race

Grandiose opening track Subtle Changes sets the stall out for Welsh five-piece Jklmno, all stadium sized guitars and earnest lyrics; ‘There’s people in this world less fortunate than us’ delivered by Carl Harrison in a nasal twang somewhere between Win Butler and Isaac Brock. It comes complete with audience-friendly backing vocals too. It’s a reasonably successful attempt at writing a ‘hit’ and is markedly better than the similarly molded following track.

There’s a rock and roll swing sound to Gold Vice off-set by Daniel Pierce’s synths, with the whole thing starting to sound somewhere between Coldplay and Weezer in its pop ambitions. It all stops short of going anywhere, its guitars are hammered as if lives depend on it, but in the end nobody really seems to have any idea where to take things. Fortunately Electric Hearts seems less bothered about whether it will change the world, though it’s got a contemporary Kings of Leon-vibe to it.

Thistles and Thorns opens with melancholy organs, Harrison’s voice has morphed into a slightly broken and beaten croak. The inevitable optimistic drum-beat and U2-like guitar lines are visible from a mile away, but it’s a pleasant if predictable concoction, which is kind of the modus operandi for bands who clearly want to occupy main stages at mass market festivals. That’s not to be too cynical about Jklmno’s brand of pop-rock, it’s just that it’s all a bit too insipid and seems content to fit comfortably within the expectations of an upbeat MOR number rather than toying with what they could bring to the genre.

Closing track XYZ starts with a drum loop and seems teetering on the edge of an interesting shift in style, but it quickly settles snugly into a maudlin piece of skittering sombre pop that’s content to cosy up to the likes of Keane or latter-day Starsailor.

A serviceable enough EP for fans of colour-by-numbers big sound pop, I wouldn’t be surprised if these chaps went on to bigger and better things and to a large extent that’s a pretty back-handed compliment. Still, they’re very good at what they do, if the songs were stronger and more innovative (I mean, for all the derision I give them based on where they are now, there are some great songs on Coldplay‘s first two records) then they could really have all the ingriedients for something quite exciting.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.