30.5.11

THE CLAIM : Birth Of A Teenager 7" (1990)

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Contemporaries of The Dentists & The Prisoners, but frankly better than either, The Claim hailed from the unassuming Kent village of Cliffe to become a pivotal, if neglected, cog in the booming Medway beat scene of the mid-to-late 80s. They released a couple of LPs & a brace of EPs for a plethora of shortlived & ridiculously obscure provincial labels, of which This Pencil Was Obviously Sharpened By A Left Handed Indian Knife Thrower is probably the most renown. My favourite of their releases, possibly because of Billy Childish's exquisite linocut sleeve design, is this hard-to-find 45 on Bob Stanley's short lived Caff label. Another Medway stalwart, occasional Hangman poet Vic Templar, pops up overleaf, reading his eccentric "Mike The Bike" piece. Top notch.

The Claim were a melodic hybrid of classic early 60s Mersey guitar pop (ala The Milkshakes, etc) & the more intelligent end of C-86 "shambling" scene (comparisons with The Wolfhounds might not be unreasonable). There was still a surfeit of this kind of thing knocking about when this single emerged in 1990, though much of it - Alan McGee's oft celebrated Biff Bang Pow, for instance - sounds awfully pedestrian today. The Claim, however, still sound surprisingly prescient - thanks, no doubt, to the consistently high quality of their songwriting. God knows why they didn't make it any bigger, though the dismaying lack of a (then) crucial Peel session might've had something to do with it? If you've not come across them before, give this superior single a listen & then bag yourself a copy of the excellent Black Path compilation, released by Joe Foster's laudable Rev-Ola concession a couple of years ago. It swings, sah!

4 comments:

  1. Not familiar with this lot but Caff was always an interesting label as well as being very well connected via Stanley's music press work. Follow up label icerink was a bit of a disappointment in comparison...

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  2. My only recollection of Ice Rink is an ex-girlfriend's copy of Shampoo's "Bouffant Headbutt"!

    Give The Claim compilation a listen if you have an hour spare, it's pretty blimmin' good...

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  3. the only caff single i have is the fantastic 'sadie' by bitch magnet...apparently they have reformed...i'm so excited!

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  4. Caff's Buffalo Tom 7" was a good 'un as well...

    You can follow the reformed Bitch Magnet's progress c/o their Facebook page btw. I get the impression that THEY're quite excited too!

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