British indie rock stalwarts The Claim present their much-anticipated album ‘The New Industrial Ballads’, their first new recordings since 1992. Ahead of this, they teased the lead track ‘Journey’ with accompanying video, inspired by Britain’s Brexit conundrum.
The Claim are David Read (vocals/guitar/keyboards), David Arnold (guitar), Stuart Ellis (bass), and Martin Bishop (drums). Hailing from Cliffe in Kent, The Claim were one of the major players in the thriving ‘Medway Scene’, producing mod-influenced pop that seriously influenced on the sound of Blur’s earliest works.
The new album comes hot on the trail of a special reissue of their seminal album ‘Boomy Tella’ album, available on green vinyl and also CD for the first time. The album was remastered for this limited edition of 300 copies, using the original 1/4 inch tapes. A recent feature in El País, Spain’s biggest selling newspaper, described ‘Boomy Tella’ as the missing link between The Kinks and Blur.
The Claim makes beautiful and original hybrid music that channels the root ingredients of classic English guitar music – a tasteful combination of folk (Bert Jansch, Nick Drake), thoughtful, melodic pop (Michael Head, Ray Davies), and angular politically-tinged pop (Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, The Wolfhounds) into something that is contemporary and original.
‘The New Industrial Ballads’ presents the group’s sound 30 odd years later if they had continued to play and develop, rather than quit. It’s different, it’s interesting but it is still distinctively in the mould that made the group the true pioneers of Britpop in the late 80s and early 90s.
‘The New Industrial Ballads’ celebrates the noble tradition (the lineage of which runs through folk, ballads, skiffle, the Kinks, to punk and beyond) of ordinary people singing about everyday concerns and the issues of the day that impact on working lives. ‘Journey’ is about economic migration, the characters involved, the need to fight passionately for the right of all to move to work. In ‘Estuary Greens and Blues’, David Read reflects on the passing years and a changing industrial landscape as he walks the shore of the Thames estuary. ‘30 Years’ is a collaboration with writer Vic Templar, who narrates a poignant and prescient tale contrasts mankind’s inability to progress politically and spiritually with technological advances (a follow-up to The Claim’s cult classic ‘Mike the Bike’, released on Bob “Saint Etienne” Stanley’s Caff label in 1990).
About the lead track, David Arnold says, “Journey marks a welcome return of political pop. It’s a song that the Claim wrote following the European referendum. It was motivated by a deep unease about the way in which the political right dehumanised economic migrants during the campaign and afterwards. The lyrics reflect on the similarities between the journeys made by different members of all our families across the generations, to find a new life and a happy ending. Empathy is something we have to fight for”.
Who are The Claim? All four of them have day jobs. In a parallel world in which new industrial balladry and the English version of Americana rules, this would be a virtue – rather than something that makes them look like part-timers. David Read is a fireman. David Arnold works for a trade union. Stuart Ellis is a policeman. Martin Bishop works for a kitchen and bathroom supplier. All band members spent their formative years in Kent, and the two Davids and Martin in a tiny village called Cliffe that was built up around a cement works. Stuart hails from the nearby market town of Maidstone. They learned their craft on the Medway scene, alongside local heroes The Milkshakes, The Prisoners, Wipeoutand The Dentists.
The new album was recorded at Jim Riley’s Ranscombe Studios in Rochester, which is the spiritual home of today’s Medway sound with the studio being used by all local luminaries young and old, including Theatre Royal, Billy Childish, Graham Day, Treasures of Mexico and Glenn Prangnell’s Groovy Uncle.
In the group’s earlier period (1985-92) they secured Single of the Week in Melody Maker (Loser’s Corner), got 8/10 in NME for their album (Boomy Tella) and received regular airplay on John Peel and Andy Kershaw. The Manic Street Preachers, who used to write The Claim long love letters, performed their first ever London show supporting The Claim in 1989.
As of May 24 via A Turntable Friend Records, this 14-track record is available digitally, on gatefold CD (with lyrics) and on black vinyl (with lyric sheet), with a special blue-green vinyl edition also exclusive to Rough Trade and Bandcamp orders. Worldwide distribution is being handled via SRD (Southern Record Distributors) out of London.
1. Johnny Kidd’s Right Hand Man
3. Smoke And Screens
4. The Haunted Pub
5. Light Bending
7. When The Morning Comes
9. Gamma Rays
10. Just Too Far
11. Mrs. Jones
12. Estuary Greens & Blues
13. 30 Years (featuring Vic Templar)
14. Under Canvas
Note to listeners: Sure everybody says this, but this album really has a natural flow. As such it works best if you listen to it all in order. If you only have a few minutes though, the following in order will give you a sense of the album’s breadth: ‘Johnny Kidd’s Right Hand Man’, ‘Journey’, ‘Smoke and Screens’, ’30 Years’, ‘The Haunted Pub’, ‘Light Bending’ and ‘Under Canvas’.
June 7 Gravesend, Kent – LV21 Lightship (with Treasures of Mexico, The High Span)
June 8 Cliffe – Cliffe Village Club
June 9 Brighton – Brighton Electric (with Treasures of Mexico, Clipper)
More dates to be added
The Claim – Journey
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Band location – Cliffe-at-Hoo England
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