It's always driven me a bit crackers when modern folk artists sing about dingly dells and wenches on horseback rather than continue the folk tradition by singing about issues of the day. The Claim couldn't claim (ha!) to be a folk band but the returning Medway Scene band here sing about such 2019 issues as economic migration and the changing industrial landscape. True folk music then but expect more thoughtful and literate English guitar pop from this long running concern.
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I've never been to Medway though I've heard all about its scene which includes bands like the Dentists, Thee Headcoats and the Claim amongst others. The latter were a fair to middling indie band in the mid 80s with some small successes including being the first band a nascent Manic Street Preachers supported on their first London gig.
After several years they are back with a new album of thoughtful, melodic indie rock with a political bent to the lyrics. After a brief instrumental opening we are into Journey which showcases the Claim's pleasingly chiming guitars which play big chunky chords over which singer David Read intones "I will stand and fight for what I know is right" - his style is folky and passionate without being preachy. In fact the Claim's oeuvre seems to be to blend the storytelling of folk music with music that whilst it retains a folky feel is more in line with 80s janglers such as McCarthy and the Smiths.
It's a tough sound though which eschews fey jangling for a more pop/rock sound. Thoughtful, considered songs like Smoke and Screens remind me of the American band the Connells who similarly blended folk driven melodies with an obvious love of 80s indie. Having not heard their earlier work I can't say how this stands up but taken on it's own terms New Industrial Ballads sounds like a band who still have plenty to say are able to return sounding surprisingly fresh and vital.
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- The New Industrial Ballads by The Claim
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