BOSS KELOID - “Family The Smiling Thrush” - (Ripple, 2021, Wigan, England) -

I’m always behind the door on some shit. You know what I mean? My dad used to say that all the time. I wouldn’t know the Orioles made a trade and Dad would say “You’re really behind the door on what’s going on with the Orioles, aren’t you?” So yeah. When I first got into heavy music, I was kinda behind the door on the prog end of it. I knew SABBATH & ZEPPELIN, but bands like CRIMSON & GENTLE GIANT had all these albums out & I didn’t know shit about it. KING CRIMSON’s “Red” took care of that in 1974. Imagine that, 7 albums into their career and it took Ray to hear one that sounded like “Vol. 4” in a NASA think tank to get his attention.


Sometimes it’s happened with lesser-known units too. England’s BOSS KELOID had already handed down the business 4 times before they bestowed “Family The Smiling Thrush” upon the world. I’d had no idea, sailing right along in my life until Todd Severin sent me this new CD and I got a helluva education. To begin with, I had to like this band’s way with words. This wasn’t necessarily “Baby rock me all night long.” From the album title itself to cuts like “Orang Of Noyn,” “Hats The Mandrill” & “Flatt Controller,” you can tell that these cats be thinkin.’ 


When you press “play,” however, you’ll be privy to a whole ‘nuther level of “not your father’s Oldsmobile.”  It’s funny, and not totally coincidental, that I referenced KC’s “Red” album above because this actually reminds me a bit of that, & something newer like OPETH. I do say the latter with some reservation, as I’ve never been a gigantic fan of Åkerfeldt & Co. but this is to me, a whole lot more up my alley.


Paul Swarbrick’s guitar hacks off sharp riffs that surprise and yet snap necks. And that’s the thing here. That’s what makes this gel.  From stem to stern, the rhythms aren’t hard to follow, nor difficult to decipher yet their lain together in a way that sounds new, different and provocative. Again, think “Red.” And the same way CRIMSON did, it’s not just the guitarist, it’s the whole damn band, bass & drums wired together. Raw complexity, jarring harmony. It’s advanced but easy to latch onto and remember. That’s real good shit.


I’ve also got to give credit to Alex Hurst on vocals. He goes from a harsh sprig of early Hetfield to a branch flowering Jan Erik Liljeström (ANEKDOTEN) with well-oiled ease. He does this in every song, like a champion.


Man, I’ve gotta give BOSS KELOID a lot of credit here. Maybe I was behind the door �� on them until now, but they’ve obviously been plying their trade & upping their ante over the last several years. Thankfully I got on the train when they sent this juggernaut out of the station & baby, I’m along for the ride.


-Ray Dorsey




Ste Arands - drums & percussion

Paul Swarbrick - electric guitars

Liam Pendlebury-Green - bass

Alex Hurst - vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar