This could be the breakthrough year for I Am Kloot. They played two dates at the Ritz in Manchester, but where their next date in the city is will be a measure of how much they've reached the heights their talent deserves.
Part of Kloot's appeal for me is how much I find myself drawn to the tragi-drama and warmth of vocalist, front man and talisman John Bramwell. From the moment I first saw him perform as a solo artist he walked on with glasses of wine and beer in one hand, guitar in the other, he struck a chord as a fundamentally honest performer. His guitar playing was incredible too - filling the strange space of the in-the-round theatre with a wide range of often complex notes and chords.
His voice, a lush, throaty Mancunian mix - part Richard Hawley and even Glen Campbell, brings to life these amazing songs, these authentic tales of a life lived. More than once he said the next song was about "drinking, and disaster". I Am Kloot have never made it big, and for a while I was probably one of those fans who quite liked that they probably won't, that they are the thinking man's Elbow.
But this new album is getting airplay, recognition, support and a growing loyal following. But you find yourself in that awkward position of wanting them to accelerate alongside Elbow's slipstream and carry on with these songs that have been produced painfully and carefully amidst a backdrop of fighting demons. You don't do that kind of work from a mansion in Oxfordshire.
The new album Let It All In has an enchanting quality, Bramwell's light and melancholy music is capable of such stirring, despite such heavy dollops of melancholia. I wonder whether this will be their breakthrough, certainly it deserves to on the basis of the first few listens. I was happy for Elbow when they achieved great success, but as I've got to love Kloot I've felt a nagging frustration that they are better. It's not a contest, but I wish it more than anything. A new video with John Simm starring in it may help. One of them will have to be this album's One Day Like This, though I'm not sure which one yet, probably These Days Are Mine.