Boomy Tella  –  The Claim (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It would be very easy for those not so interested in the timeline of sonic order to suggest that The Claim have been listening to too many Smiths or Blur records but that would be to ignore the fact that they were fellow travellers through the 80’s indie scene with the former and have been acknowledged by the latter as being a strong influence on their early career. But The Claim are one of those bands who never really had their moment in the sun even though they were certainly making the right sound and in the right place at the right time. 

Such is the fickle hand of fate and as other bands got the breaks The Claim somehow failed to become a household name. Which is a shame because buried in their moddish, indie groove and light musical touch there are plenty of quintessentially English quirk and quaintness something that found a wider audience with the more astute Brit-pop bands who grabbed the limelight just as The Claim were calling it a day.

However, there is some justice in the world and it comes in the form of their seminal 1988 album, Boomy Tella, getting a long overdue re-release. Sitting somewhere between the more visceral guitar salvos of The Jam and the 60’s infused jangle of bands such as The Jasmine Minks, they where major players in the mercurial Medway Scene and now, 40 years later a whole new generation..or two…have the opportunity to appreciate, not only how great their music was but also exactly where they sit on the sonic family tree.

Love Letter is a jaunty slice of jangle-pop which reminds me a lot of fellow south easterners The Maccabees…no, not the famous lot, the lesser known alt-folk-poppers with a penchant for accordions and songs about tramps…and God, Cliffe and Me is a strange, dark peaen to their home town. Not So Simple Sharon Says, which kicks the album off, is a taut piece of indie that Weller would have been envious of back in the day and Down By The Chimney provides a skittering slice of dovetailed guitar work and anxious drums.

Musical history buffs should see this as a missing piece of the jigsaw that links the fledgling 80’s indie scene with the Brit-pop explosion of the following decade. But really you should by this album for the most fundamental reasons. It’s packed with brilliant songs. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

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