Wigan’s Boss Keloid have been unsettling the UK underground with their progressive sludge/stoner/doom sounds for over 10 years now – inching ever closer to prog perfection with every release – and steadily embracing and enhancing the ‘prog’ element of their sound at every juncture with all roads, inevitably, leading to album number 5, Family The Smiling Thrush.
First up. What the flippin’ chips does Family The Smiling Thrush mean? Doesn’t matter. Move on. Second, are Boss Keloid still a sludge band? Nope. Not in the slightest. Instead of wading through treacle, Boss Keloid are now skipping over the mire, with a never-lighter touch employed throughout. However, easy listening Family The Smiling Thrush is not.
These songs are uniformly unpredictable, with layers of psych-rock keys and a thoroughly progressive mindset setting Boss Keloid apart from their peers on every level. Recalling the heady days of prime Rush – in spirit, as opposed to sound – Boss Keloid don’t give two hoots about what you may ‘want’ from them. Instead, this is an album to lose yourself in. To indulge in. To discover. So, dive headfirst into weighty riff explosions and huge swathes of vocal melodies which contort into organic grooves and jazzy prog freak-outs at the drop of a hat. You’ll thank yourself for it.
While accusations of ADHD may be slung, we maintain that Boss Keloid are simply at the peak of expression and experimentation, going where the songs naturally take them as opposed to adhering to familiar structure. Key and time changes may appear gratuitous but they’re not jarring enough to have you reaching for the off switch. Instead, Family The Smiling Thrush is challenging yet uplifting and cathartic…..and sometimes all you need to lift your spirits is for life-affirming wisdom to be bellowed at you by a burly man from Wigan.
Family The Smiling Thrush pushes Boss Keloid’s creativity to the hilt and is an unmitigated triumph. Stick to your guns, write music for yourself and, most importantly, be more Boss Keloid. Why? Because they’ve got this shit nailed. 9/10