Klangstof – Godspeed to the Freaks
Dutch indie-rock trio Klangstof, who have just wrapped up a summer tour supporting alt-rock pioneers Pixies, are back with an offering of weird grooves and brooding tunes with their third studio album Godspeed to the Freaks.
It opens with Death04, a breezy, folk fusion that weaves wispy vocals with sonic guitar runs and a mellow fingerpicked acoustic backing. There is a hazy, melancholic mood throughout Godspeed to the Freaks, where tracks are often laid with clattering beats, shimmery swirling synths and scatterings of twinkly electronic guitar lines. Standout number Truth begins with a quick clash of drums before slowing the tempo with a mellow bass groove, while Devil’s Lair opens with the distorted chime of keys and stuttering beats before shifting tempo with the introduction of slashing guitar threads and lead vocalist Koen van de Wardt’s choir calls.
The album ebbs and flows between opposing moods and lyrical tone, shifting effortlessly from the punchy electronic beat of Plastic Gun to How I Feel, a sorrowful, synth-infused track that slows the tempo with moody harmonies from guest collaborator Someone. At other times, Klangstof take us into brighter territory: lead single Disguiser is an upbeat entry that stands out amidst murkier tones.
The penultimate track, All of My Reasons are Distractions, is a collection of floaty, loose vocals and sparse piano threads that are set adrift amidst the polished backdrop of a swirling synth soundscape, and the closer, Sylvia, a slow-burning, soothing song with reverberating vocals and rattling percussion, slowly builds with a gentle guitar bridge which leads into a cacophony of clashing percussion and a crescendo of purposeful, choir-call vocals. It’s a bittersweet, cathartic climax, and an optimistic conclusion to a record so often tinged with the dark and the gloomy.
Klangstof’s latest album manages to harness the raw sound that they’re known for, but at the same time, there is an unmistakable presence of a newfound maturity with Godspeed To The Freaks. “On our previous album, we were anxiously trying to figure out what the world wanted us to sound like.…A big part of what we achieved was to consciously enjoy what we were doing… [and] not think too much about goals in terms of future successes, just the music that we’re making,” says Van de Wardt. This shift in approach has led to a result that feels fresh, as equally refined as it is raw, and is a testament to why they are more than just Netherlands’ answer to Alt-J, confirming their position as one of the most exciting indie groups working today.
Photo: Anton Corbijn
Godspeed to the Freaks is released on 16th September 2022. For further information or to order the album visit Klangstof’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Truth here: