Treasures of Mexico

The Claim - The New Industrial Ballads

“And now a song of hope / Despite despairing hearts”

The Claim are to release their first album since 1988’s ‘Boomy Tella’ via Turntable Friend Records on May 24th. Release date wise, it’s perfection. Nothing is more British than a bank holiday, as the band they heavily influenced once sang:

“Bank holiday comes six times a year
Days of enjoyment to which everyone cheers”

Recorded at Jim Riley’s Ranscombe Studios in Rochester, they look set to reignite the Medway sound. At the heart of the original Medway boom were great pop instincts, nothing has changed.

Lead single ‘Johnny’ is the perfect link to this past. The urgency of Jam permeating their spiralling pop guitars. Meanwhile, Dave Read’s vocal hook on ‘When The Morning Comes’ chorus demonstrates pop music can emerge from even downbeat affairs. ‘Smoke and Screens’ and ‘The Haunted Pub’ is a display of pop music transcending to art. A flurry of polemic and social comment wrapped up in working class British life collides with sun kissed production and sprightly guitar hooks. Where as, the sparkling Grandaddy production and Bluetones' pop sheen of 'Just Too Far' is the albums cherry on the cake. The Smiths methodology burns bright.

In 2015, Sam Duckworth (aka Get Cape Wear Cape Fly) released an EP and album under the moniker ‘Recreations’. It tapped into a feelings of alternative and lost souls along the estuary in Essex. The Claim, a five minute hop across the Thames, have struck a similar chord. Opener ‘Johnny Kidd’s Right Hand Man’, drifts down the estuary ignored and downtrodden but never losing hope. The mod-cum-blues on ‘Estuary Greens and Blues’ recalls Blur’s ‘End of Century’ and ‘To The End’ as it drifts out to sea. So blissful is album closer 'Under Canvas', that all those sneering looks for wearing DM's or having to tolerate Farage lovers drift away into insignificance.

The Claim, despite obviously being a band of brothers, have, in Dave Read a vocalist that perhaps only Morrissey and Michael Head can rival. Unique in sound, he has their ability to find a melodic hook in unexpected places. 'Light Bending', as the guitars saunter like British Sea Power circa 'Open Season', finds a choppy Dr Feelgood vibe. Where as, 'Mrs Jones', Read delivers his most emotive vocal on a loving character driven tale.

The subtlety of The Claim’s polemic gently caressing the infectious melodies is truly remarkable. Blink and you’ll miss the bands appeal to be nicer to immigrants on ‘Journey’. Couple this with the righteousness of ‘I will stand and fight / for what I know is right’ and Read’s gut wrenching alienation on the line ‘where do I fit in…………where do I belong’, you have one of the social comments of the year. On ‘Hercules’, the nuance turns to anti-austerity polemic (“boarded up shops / Run down housing / There’s your big society”) but remains forever pop friendly. This is how to mix pop and politics without an embarrassment of excuses.

It’s been 30 years since their debut ‘Boomy Tella’. Countless fans will have pondered what might have been had they got a bigger break back then. We defy them not to see this 30 years wait as positive now. Integrity in tack, The Claim have delivered a pop music masterpiece.

Friday 2nd August marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music. Tickets available here:




The Yellow Melodies - Life

Murcia’s The Yellow Melodies returned earlier this year with their eighth studio album ‘Life’. It seems an unlikely location for the hallmarks of great 90s indie-pop to resurface but, they’ve had one hell of a crack at it.

The moment title track ‘Life’ saunters into action, the cuteness of the Lightning Seeds rises and with the careering strings, the early spirit of Sleeper and ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ era Blur come to life. Lifting ‘Life’, as well as ‘Don’t Think Twice’ and ‘For A Star’ away from pastiche are the guitars of Rafa Skam and Carlos.

For the most part, ‘Don’t Think Twice’ has an air of Bob Collins’ playing in The Dentists. A subtle shimmer revolves throughout like a hazy beacon of light. ‘For A Star’, with the lo-fi infectiousness of The Wannadies classic ‘Be A Girl’ album, meanders effortlessly like The Orchids with Rob Collins joining on keys before exploding into life! The solo that comes bursting into view is a destructive dirt ridden Sonic Youth piece of glory.

‘Our Time Is Over’ is where they pull everything they love together. The pop sensibilities of The Lightning Seeds and the jangle of Sarah’s Records collide with a triumphant melancholy a la Teenage Fanclub. There is so much heart oozing from the vocals and the orchestration, it’s hard not to give your CD a little hug.

There are moments of flatness such as ‘Come and See’ where the worst traits of Space emerge. However, when you temper that with the risk taking ‘Flying Together’, which couples Saint Etienne and The Auteurs, there is not much room for complaint.  

There is so much to fall in love with on ‘Life, the costly investment in the back catalogue is inevitable.

Our 8th birthday party is Friday 2nd August at the New Cross Inn. Click the image below for tickets:

The Claim: 100 Club, London

Celebrating the re-release of their 1988 album ‘Boomy Tella’ and, the release of the new single ‘Journey’, Kent’s The Claim headlined the 100 Club in London this past Saturday night.

Along with ‘Journey’, they aired other new songs ‘Just Too Far’, ‘Dear’ and ‘Hercules’. All of which retained their razor sharp Medway roots and continued to find interesting ways to deliver pop hooks.

Their classic ‘Birth of Teenager’, knits the support of Treasures of Mexico and Jasmine Minks together with is dark lyrics and infectious melodies.  

On ‘Boomy Tella’ album opener ‘Not So Simple Sharon Says’, The Smiths’ 60s British kitchen sink drama imagery is displayed gloriously. Dave Read’s vocal’s, although vastly different in sound, have Mozza’s knack in finding great and unexpected vocal hooks.

The pop majesty just kept coming has they dived into their back catalogue on ‘Lonely Tarts’ and ‘Between Heaven and Woolworths’. When David Arnold gets his hazy jingle jangle via Mod’s immediacy going like this, it’s easy to imagine what a young Graham Coxon was listening to before ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’. Just how did roaring success pass them by?

However, there was no place to be wayward or cynical at this gig. So rare are their live shows that, their credibility and integrity just continues to grow in their absence. Now, with new material shining on its debut London outing, the new album cannot come soon enough (May 24th)

*Image courtesy of https://twitter.com/akumulator_uk