It's fair to say that Klaxons have a weight of expectation upon them. Just over a year into their existence the kids love them, dress like them and go glowstick-wielding mental at their gigs. The media can smell something molten hot going on but are bemused as to what it is. For the music consumer and MySpace addict there's the mad energy of the three singles - the latest, 'Magick', a frenetic paean to occultist Aleistair Crowley, plays regularly on daytime Radio One but stands out a country mile from the mass of regulation indie. For the more casual observer there's a lot of talk about 'nu-rave', a term bassist Jamie Reynolds coined many months ago to describe the way his band occasionally reference the era when dance music ruled UK. It's a phrase that, for a firey guitar band, is misleading and yet sometimes bizarrely appropriate.
Jamie Reynolds (26) grew up on the council estates of Bournemouth and Southampton. By age twelve he was already drinking and smoking weed and, by thirteen, hanging out with lads five years older. A group of them asked him to be bassist in their nascent indie band, Thermal, and a few bass lessons later Jamie's band were supporting heavy-hitters of the time such as Mansun and Heavy Stereo. The big break never came, though. When they went to record Thermal's breakthrough single they discovered the lead singer couldn't sing and the band split up. Jamie was gutted and threw himself into partying. He studied philosophy at college but his heart wasn't in it and he dropped out, spending the next eight years working in record shops "giving people hassle for buying records I thought weren't cool."
Like Quentin Tarantino, the video store clerk who dreamed big, however, Jamie spent these years plotting, drinking in musical knowledge, and planning. Things came together spectacularly when he moved to London and was made redundant. He spent his redundancy money on studio kit and hooked up with Simon to form a group called Klaxons (Not Centaurs), named after a line from early twentieth century art text The Futurist Manifesto.
Simon Taylor (24) grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon. Although he was into indie music he was also listening to 'Dance Nation' compilations and going to youth club happy hardcore discos. He asked James, who was in the year below him at school, to teach him guitar, then he headed off to do Fine Art at Nottingham University. It was there he embraced the jagged sounds of Josef K and the Fire Engines and made drunken late night plans to form a band with the boyfriend of one of his housemates, one Jamie Reynolds.
James Righton (23), meanwhile, worked every summer on the boats in Stratford-upon-Avon, but was into music early because his dad's a musician. He went to Reading Festival at ten and saw Oasis at Knebworth aged thirteen. He enjoyed everything from Pantera to Radiohead but after studying history at Cardiff University he disappeared to Madrid to teach English and explore "these great weird techno clubs".
In late 2005 his old pal Simon persuaded him to come back from "his everlasting gap year" and join Klaxons. The chemistry of the three was immediate. They meticulously planned what they wanted to achieve and recorded the sci-fi prog-punk 7" 'Gravity's Rainbow', putting out 500 copies in hand-painted covers. The b-side was a version of long lost 1992 rave hit 'The Bouncer' (originally by Kicks Like A Mule). Jamie dropped the phrase 'nu-rave' to describe Klaxons "bring the party" ethic and, hey presto, the balloon started to go up. By the time they did their frantically oversubscribed first gig it was already clear the band were onto something special. 'The Bouncer' isn't an electronic dance record at all, of course, but stuttering brutally Spartan rock that has more in common with Big Black or Fugazi. The point was that Klaxons, with their garish dress sense, lack of poseur mystique and desire to turn a concert into a frantic good time, were just what the self-absorbed post-Libertines London guitar scene needed.
An old-fashioned rave-style party at a school gym, with the location revealed at the last minute on a mobile number, sealed Klaxons reputation. Hundreds were turned away and the dancing went on past dawn with no police interference. What followed has been a hectic six months - constant touring of Europe and the US; the William Burroughs sci-fi call-to-arms of the second single 'Atlantis To Interzone'; the definitive tent-bursting set at the Reading Festival; endless 'next big thing' tips by everyone from GQ to NME to The Sun.
Klaxons, though, are ready for it. They are not going to waste their opportunity and are eager to let the world hear the full palate of their capabilities on the debut album 'Myths Of The Near Future' produced by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco. All three come from single parent families and have become a tight-knit gang of musical brothers who take all the hype with a pinch of salt, concentrating on making art that will outlast the fuss. They read voraciously and their lyrics, full of references to the writing of Richard Brautigan, Thomas Pynchon, JG Ballard, Alfred Jarry, etc, are a refreshingly far cry from the current trend for bus stop'n'chips social realism. Call them pretentious, if you want, but they'll merely say, "So what," and hammer into the next ballistic number.
The word 'klaxon' derives from the Greek word for 'to shriek'. Those who have fluoro-pogoed along to the galloping 'Four Horsemen of 2012', Klaxons set-closer and debut album-closer, would admit that the three-piece live up to such a description. On the other hand, tune into deliciously harmonic new song 'Golden Skans', with its Beach-Boys-go-'80s backing vocals, and suddenly all spikiness has dissolved in a flurry of soft-hearted throb. The album will surprise a lot of people;
"We've been making this monster but it's not what people are going to expect from some f**king Shoreditch neon band," James ventures with typically dry wit. "I don't think we're like any other bands," says Jamie, grounded and calm, "We're out there on our own."
2007 could be Klaxons' year, with their stew of cosmic imagery, avant-garde awareness, dizzy melodies and raging energy are set to lead the way forward 'Light the bridges with the lantern," says Simon, ever wide-eyed and passionate, quoting from their song 'Forgotten Works', "You know something's going to happen."
It certainly seems likely.