CD Review: Klone – Le Grande Voyage

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Kscope have added another doozy of a band to their ranks, with the addition of French art rock band Klone to the label. Known for their trademark dark guitar tones and epic brooding soundscapes, they fit the bill perfectly, and they know it. Guillaume Bernard, Klone’s guitarist, enthuses “We are honoured to join their family, which has included releases from prestigious artists such as Anathema, The Pineapple Thief, TesseracT, Steven Wilson, Katatonia, Ulver etc. This is the ideal label for Klone and we are excited to work with this new team!”

So what is on offer? Bernard continues: “After an acoustic break we are back with an electric album that has been 3 years in the making. The album invites you to explore the different landscapes of our music; dark, luminous, heavy and powerful. The mixing by Francis Castes from the Sainte Marthe studio in Paris has created a sound both massive and airy.”

But who the heck are they, I hear (some of you) ask? Klone hail from Poitiers, ancient university capital of mid-west France, known for Eleanor of Aquitaine (if you remember your 12th century history) and French chef, the late Joël Robuchon (no, I’d not heard of him either). With a band history going back to 1995 and coming from that isolated part of France, it has taken time to get traction, each music release and each support slot and festival appearance gaining them some momentum. 2019 has seen them headlining in France. With Kscope support, a higher profile in other European countries is inevitable. And deserved, I might add.

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Their albums ‘All Seeing Eye’ (review) and Black Days (review) were of a more prog metal ilk, only their last full studio album ‘Here Comes The Sun’ (review) seeing them embark on that atmospheric, melancholic, post rock-inspired sound which Kscope rightly publicise.

However, it appears that the 2017 release Unplugged and subsequent live performances in a stripped-down, acoustic, live setting, gave the band cause to think further about their musical direction. The values in creating space, in developing sounds, in using structure, in displaying emotion all appear to be valuable lessons learned and used in their new album. 

The inspiration for Le Grand Voyage seems to be all about the meaning of life, the numerous theories and philosophies that abound, and those eternally unanswered questions about who we are and where we are going. In their own words: “It was the uncertainty and confusion surrounding mortality, the notion that something or nothing awaits us, which felt like an unlimited creative playground for us.”

The cinematic opener Yonder is the best signal of intent and is the track to measure them by. Throughout there are the key indicators of talent – strong mood construction through sound textures over attractive rhythms. But most of all an excellent voice, reverb-laden and so suitably apt for the band. Yann Ligner – remember that name. 

This is a band of musicians creating music of artistic integrity whilst also showing commercial potential. If I had to pigeon-hole them, how about “atmospheric rock”, as a slightly harder, less orchestrated version of latter-day Anathema. Or how about a less adventurous Riverside? I suppose when you look at it, you could say that this band has had a long journey – a great voyage – but it’s been worth it. ‘Le Grand Voyage’ is powerful, it’s deep, it’s emotive, it’s effective and compulsive. It’s a great journey worth taking by the listener.

FOLLOW KLONE ON INSTAGRAM @kloneband

 

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