display | more...

According to the NME Klaxons was the band of 2007. That's all good and well, as we know how that magazine loves to bloat their own importance by spearheading genres and scenes, but say what you will about their music, personally I'm intrigued by their abundance of references to literature and mysticism throughout their work.

It can be argued that too many references, too many tributes, would paint the band as unoriginal. What's to separate them from a band that cribs as many other groups' sounds as they can in an attempt to pass themselves off as original, like say, Jet? Is borrowing literary themes for song meanings the same? Are Klaxons more or less creative than artists singing about events from their life or creating poetry to intertwine with the instruments?

That's another argument for another time.

To begin with, the title of the album, Myths of the Near Future, is the title of a J. G. Ballard collection of short stories from 1982. Ballard was, or course, a science-fiction writer primarily and it's clear that his work, among others, has influenced the band.

Klaxons' love to cite fiction is obvious in a number of songs on their album; not least track Atlantis to Interzone. Atlantis is the mythical sunken city first spoken of by philosopher Plato, and Interzone is a term used by beat author William S. Burroughs. Also, I'm told Interzone is the title of a sci-fi magazine, which fits with the band's ethos of not being grounded in reality. Reference is also made to the Thomas Pynchon novel Gravity's Rainbow in the lyrics, which in turn is also used as the title of a song further into the album. Both Ballard and Pynchon were post-WWII writers and purveyors of "post modern" writing, as detailed by David Bennet in his article Parody, Postmodernism, and the Politics of Reading. Ballard has also been referenced, most notably, by Joy Division in their songs Atrocity Exhibition and Closer.

Further still, song Isle of Her is based on a short story by French Absurdist writer Alfred Jarry called Concerning the Cyclops and the Isle of Her, which seems, in turn, to be influenced by the Odyssey. The entire song Forgotten Works is based on surreal Eden novel In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan. Lyrics from the song are taken directly from the book itself, even making reference to iDEATH. Single Magick is based on the book on Wiccan practices, Magick Without Tears, by famous occultist Aleister Crowley.

As Above, So Below takes its name and content from a commonly uttered Crowley phrase that is based in Hermeticism. First stated in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, this occult phrase is used to detail the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm and has been also mention by bands as varied as Tool and the Tom Tom Club.

Other mythological allusions are included in the Klaxons most successful song to date, Golden Skans. In North American Indian mythology the supreme creator god is known as Skan - also a Lakotan term meaning the motion of the universe. Additionally, the Hall of Records is mentioned which is considered by some to be a lost collection of writings (apparently bearing the answers to the universe) hidden underneath the Sphinx in Egypt. Some further believe that the uncovering and opening of this place will occur alongside the second coming of Christ.

The bible is subject to Klaxons' creative pilfering too in closing song Four Horsemen of 2012. From the Book of Revelation the Four Horsemen are the signifiers of the coming Apocalypse, representing war, famine, strife, and death. The year 2012 is a further indication of the end of the world as it is a new age belief that the Mayan calendar predicted 21 December 2012 as the date of a cataclysm for this world - this date is, however, considered to be a mis-understanding by Mayan scholars.

Collected together in one place it is incredibly evident that there is a large amount of reference material throughout this bands work. Whether or not this subject matter is simply as interesting as it is to the Klaxons members as it is to the rest of us and just exudes through their output, or whether it's the result of a lack of imagination is up to another writer. Personally, I hope they quickly outgrow that ridiculous fluorescent scene the media has created for them and continue creating illuminating music instead.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.