Starting point: People are People
Personal highlight: Gone Up In Flames
Hailing from France, Klone are a prog rock band signed with Pelagic-records. They have released an acoustic album “Unplugged”, acting as a pseudo greatest-hits. Sourced from their previous two albums, the songs stripped bare and performed acoustically take on a new life. Throw in a fantastic Depeche Mode cover of People are People and you have a curious proposition.
The songs were recorded live at Théâtre de La Coupe d’Or, with two exceptions recorded in the studio. They offer an opportunity to hear musicians with nowhere to hide.
I’d not heard Klone before writing this review, now based on the singer’s voice alone I want to hear more. This is not the first time a rock artist has taken their music and stripped away the bells and whistles to leave the pure songwriting on display.
The first artist that springs to mind for me is Alice in Chains with their infamous Live on MTV album and video. It shows a band ravaged by drug abuse, yet still capable of incredible art. The songs usually associated with distorted guitars and walls of noise become more delicate and nuanced and take on a new life.
Wow. That cover of People are People is good.
The stock footage video that they’ve cobbled together fits well with the musical content. Depeche Mode seem to be a consistent thread amongst bands that I like. One of those hidden influences woven into sounds of music that has taken the next step down that sonic road.
From In Flames covering Everything Counts; Mike Shinoda‘s (Linkin Park) excellent remix of Enjoy the Silence; A Perfect Circle‘s and now Klone‘s cover of people are people. Each version demonstrates what people take from the band and how they honour it in their own style. Those covers listed above are so vastly different, yet they all honour the same band. It’s brilliant.
If there is one thing I could criticise about this release, is the lack of backing vocals. As powerful and beautiful as the singer’s voice is – it’s hard not to imagine it being better with harmonies or other voices to play off. I’m not expecting The Beach Boys levels of vocal harmonies, but something to add another dimension to what is a very solid vocal performance.
The musicianship receives top marks, there is nothing that stands out as distracting from the song. Not having heard Klone in “Rock mode” I’m now curious how the songs will translate. No doubt for fans of the band they will have the same nerves about hearing their favourite tracks done acoustically.
Well worth a listen, it’s a great low-key soundtrack for a weekend.