I Am Kloot, 93 Feet East, London

93 Feet East, London

Last month, I Am Kloot had to abandon the first of a three-night residency here when John Bramwell's voice gave up after just five songs. A severe throat infection had led to Bramwell scraping his vocal chords, but, having postponed a European tour, Manchester's plucky survivors are back to reward, as Bramwell puts it, "the faithful".

While contemporaries Doves and Badly Drawn Boy struck pop gold, I Am Kloot have been largely ignored since their 2001 debut. But their tales of bittersweet romance and drunkenness inspire a tangible devotion that Bramwell acknowledges. "You sang that song fucking well last time," he says, as the pithy acoustic pop of From Your Favourite Sky dies away, "because I was unable to."

The band left their record company after 2005's Gods and Monsters and are now selling a limited edition of their new album, I Am Kloot Play Moolah Rouge, at their gigs, ahead of an official release next year. Bramwell, bassist Pete Jobson and drummer Andy Hargreaves are joined by brothers Colin and Norman McLeod on keyboards and slide guitar respectively, and the band sound like bulked-up contenders ready for another grab at glory.

Ferris Wheel and Hey Little Bird show a softer, mature side, and they rock out, too, with Bramwell aggressively playing his acoustic guitar and Hargreaves pummelling his kit into submission during One Man Brawl.

Perhaps buoyed by renewed confidence, the band are too loud, distorting the bass and forcing Bramwell to strain his voice. As I Am Kloot play truculent gems Morning Rain and Proof, he sips from a can of Guinness "under medical supervision". But the adoration they engender never wavers and when Bramwell dedicates To You to the crowd, his gratitude is clear.

· At Sankeys, Manchester, tonight. Box office: 0161-832 1111.


Betty Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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