There is no English or British equivalent of Americana. If there were it might sound something like The New Industrial Ballads and The Claimwould be seen as one of the originators of the genre. That doesn't mean an English group playing American music. This is a group of musicians making a beautiful and original hybrid that channels the root ingredients of classic English guitar music -- folk (Bert Jansch, Nick Drake), thoughtful, melodic pop (Michael Head, Ray Davies), and angular, politically-tinged pop (Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Wolfhounds), into something that is contemporary and original. A recent feature in El País, Spain's biggest selling newspaper, described the band's reissued 1988 album Boomy Tella (TURN 064CD/LP) as the missing link between the Kinks and Blur. The New Industrial Ballads presents the group's first new recordings since 1992. It is how the group sound 30 odd years later if they'd continued to play and develop, rather than quit. The idea behind The New Industrial Ballads is to celebrate 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. Three quick examples: "Journey" is about economic migration, the characters involved, the need to fight passionately for a fight 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 (this is a follow-up to The Claim's cult classic "Mike The Bike", released on Bob "Saint Etienne" Stanley's Caff label in 1990). In the group's earlier period (1985-92) they secured "Single of the Week" in Melody Maker (Loser's Corner), received an 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.
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