Album Review: Cleft – BOSH!

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The gorgeous artwork for BOSH! Designed by Jessica Wild

Oh man, it seems like such a long time ago that Birthday Cake for Breakfast sat down with the lads from Cleft for a chat. On a freezing cold evening in February last year, we met Cleft, John and Dan, for the first time, just before one of their shows. That night they played to a handful of people, and nobody took their coats off (the aforementioned cold…) It was a great show, and they killed it (I’ve never seen them play a bad show), but it was sadly to a small audience.

Cut to August of that same year, and they’re absolutely belting it out to a packed crowd at ArcTanGent festival in Bristol, making loads of new fans in the process. Cleft were already working their way around the country getting recognition, but I think ArcTanGent really put them on the map.

So late last year, with the bands popularity at an all time high, the turbo-prog masterminds set up a Kickstarter to help them out with the physical release of their debut album ‘BOSH!’ The response was overwhelming, with almost 80% of the funds being reached in a very short time. Moonwalking to the bloody finish line… Discussing the Kickstarter with John (drums) last year, he mentioned that even when they were just starting out, “…a guy just gave us a tenner in Liverpool because he wanted to support us” People clearly believe in Cleft and want them to do well.

Now here we are, a mere week or so away from the albums physical release – ON GORGEOUS 12” COLOURED VINYL!

I’ve listened to BOSH! a few times now, and it’s just great. Having seen Cleft live many times, I recognise a lot of the tunes, but always forget their names (Except for ‘Drop a Bastard‘, which has never left me,) so it’s nice to be able to finally know the titles properly.

The record starts with ‘12 Second Panda‘ A favourite from live shows, it sums Cleft up in a nutshell. If you don’t know that nutshell, let me explain in a clumsy collection of adjectives – Heavy, riffy, noisy, mathy. Words ending with a ‘y’ basically…

In fact, the whole record captures Cleft perfectly. A near mirror image to their live performance, it captures the tightness between John and Dan, the puzzling nature of it all in a ‘how do they do it?‘ kinda way, and just how rad the tunes are. Early stand out for me is ‘Alec Baldwin’s Hair‘ Funky driving guitar work, and named after a brilliant, brilliant man. Short and sweet.

Ghost Thighs‘, apparently named after the way a bloke’s thighs look after he’s been in the sun wearing shorts, is gorgeous and took me by surprise a bit. Expecting an entirely angry, heavy headfuck of a record, this is just lovely.

My only problem with the album….is the singing. I know! I’m sorry! Vocals are featured on ‘Elephant in the Bar Room‘, and whilst it might be a Cleft first, I’m a little uneasy over it. Even though it sounds very much like a Faith No More track with the vocals, I think I would’ve preferred the album version without. However, it is growing on me…Cleft are just too good to dislike! Complaining about this is like taking a bag of Maltesers back to the shop because there are too many in the packet…

BOSH! Is a a truly great piece of work, and is well worth your time. If you know Cleft, you already know how good they are and have probably already heard the album. If you don’t know Cleft, pick up a copy of BOSH!, give it a listen, give it a further listen, and then get down to one of their shows!

Turbo-Prog ambassadors, we salute you!

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Wanna come to the album launch party? For full details, check out the events page!

Wanna hear the full album before you buy it? BOSH! Those rad dudes at Musical Mathematics are streaming the album now, and they’re also giving away a copy of the record!

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