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Boss Keloid

Boss Keloid

Melted on the Inch

27 April 2018 – Holy Roar Records

01. Chronosiam
02. Tarku Shavel
03. Peykruve
04. Jromalih
05. Lokannok
06. Griffonbrass

Boss Keloid have been busy. Just a touch over two years since second album Herb Your Enthusiasm, they have returned with a new line-up, a new sound, a new deal with the excellent Holy Roar Records and half a dozen new songs, in the form of Melted on the Inch. Considering Herb Your Enthusiasm was a heady mixture of gigantic stoner riffs and weed puns, this much activity is pretty remarkable. Somewhere, a pile of Mars bars must have remained unmunched.

Along with a bass player switcheroo, imposing vocalist Alex Hurst is now credited aalso contributing guitars, and the band have added Matthew Milne on keyboard duties. Therefore, it should be unsurprising that the new-look Boss Keloid kick out a denser, more layered and more varied sound than they have in the past. What’s more, it’s clear right from opening track “Chronosiam” that the changes to their line-up and their sound have been matched by an increased ambition in their songwriting.

Less overtly sludgey and considerably more proggy, Melted on the Inch sounds like various members of Clutch, the Melvins, Pearl Jam and King Crimson ventured deep into a swamp with a big bag of mescaline, and emerged with a collection of long tracks packed with dynamic twists and turns, heaps of soul and a fistful of satisfyingly meaty riffs.

The first four tracks on Melted on the Inch clock in at over seven minutes apiece, and the remaining pair over five, so each song is a little self-contained episode within the broader adventure of the album. It’s also worth noting that it’s an adventure with some slightly confusing signposts, as none of the tracks have recognisable words as their titles. The closest we get is album closer “Griffonbrass“, but the likes of “Tarku Shavel” and “Jromalih” have us completely mystified. Given the puns of previous song titles, we suspect that there is some method to the madness, but we have no idea what it would be. Answers on a postcard.

The whole of Melted on the Inch is eminiently listenable, but the real stand-out track is “Jromalih“, building out of a “Cypress Grove” style percussive into and culminating in a gloriously heavy riff – bursting out of a tight, staccato interpretation of a previous riff – that might just snap you in half on first listen.

Elsewhere, “Tarku Shavel” is arrestingly soulful, and Matthew makes his presence felt with some rich, smooth Hammond organ. “Peykruve” features a distinctively slinky clean guitar line and “Lokannok” breaks out a funky synth that wouldn’t sound completely out of place on a Parliament album. And all the while, a chunky riff and a powerful vocal are never far away.

In short, with Melted on the Inch, Boss Keloid aimed for the moon and ended up on Mars. It’s hard to think of any band that has developed quite as much – and quite as successfully – in the space of a single album cycle. Elements that were in their infancy on Herb Your Enthusiasm have blossomed and matured in the interim, and have transformed Boss Keloid from a band you would recommend to your stoner to one you might run down the street imploring strangers to listen to. What an extremely pleasant surprise.

Simon

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