This Manchester trio's breakthrough fifth album didn't scale the commercial heights of producer Guy Garvey's Elbow, but saw Kloot breach the Top 30 and land a Mercury nomination. It finds crooner John Bramwell stumbling from life's last chance saloon and gazing up at the stars, breath smelling of alcohol and heart filled with hope. These are wonderfully introspective, downbeat yet somehow uplifting songs. "Do you fancy a drink, I know a place called the brink?" asks Bramwell as romantic strings swirl around him although, inevitably, he leaves alone. Despite the sauce, Bramwell never loosens his grip on songs that range from folk to psychedelia, choirs to clarinets, Acker Bilk to Beatles. Lately is all orchestrated drama; the exquisite I Still Do finds Bramwell remembering a childhood staring at the sea and sky, and seeing ghosts. The album has an eerie, almost childlike innocence: 10 songs of stunning candour and understated beauty.
Dave Simpson is a Guardian music critic and author