The end of the nineties was nigh. Britpop mania was over, and the Y2K bug was about to wreak global damage at the turn of the new Millennium. Remember that?
In Milton Keynes a quartet of musicians were diligently crafting in the rehearsal room and didn’t care much about bugs or anything else. They were consumed by their creations; harnessing the best bits of an exploded genre, and giving their songs a brash, experimental indie rock edge. It was all sounding exciting.
The band (frontman Daniel Binks, guitarist Jamie Paul Morris, bassist Steven Sciberras and drummer Ben Hallett) soon took their sounds out of the rehearsal space and into the live, cutting their teeth on the London circuit and making their mark at select festivals in the low countries.
They found favour with those dates, and their musical musings landed them an extended stay at top-flight studio, Great Linford Manor (PJ Harvey, The Charlatans, PiL, Skunk Anansie) with esteemed producer Tony Platt (AC/DC, Bob Marley and Sparks). Everything should have been magnificent, and very nearly was, until band friction during the recording process led to the session unravelling. Instead of the promised robust release, an acrimonious split left the project unfinished and gathering dust.
Those tracks might well still be sitting on the shelf today, were it not for the devastating loss of guitarist Jamie in 2019. His untimely death reopened lines of communication between the remaining members, and where there had been discontent, there was a realisation that they had unfinished business, and the band have reconvened to deal with it.
“We decided we would finish the album as a tribute to Jamie and feel that even after all this time the music still has its own place out there in the musical void,” said Ben, “Once finally released others might stumble across it and appreciate what we made. It just took a while.”
The listener will journey from the raw jagged post-punk guitars that air with You Could Be My Heroine through the anthemic swagger of tracks The Way It Is and Calmer Coaster, to the delicately poised acoustic of My Own Advice, perfect for showcasing the range and fragility of Daniel’s voice, and the epic melancholic flower powered finale of I Remember You.
It took two decades and a tragic turn of events to re-ignite the flame, but in these ‘Karma’ times the band have made good on their promise from years ago. “I was pleasantly surprised when revisiting these songs at how fresh and punchy they still feel. We were able to give them a bit of a facelift in terms of the sound, but the raw energy needed little in the way of encouragement,” said Tony Platt, who was back for the production process, “I guess the band were somewhat ahead of their time!”
Their 2nd single ‘The Way It Is’ – a song that bassist Steve Sciberras explains, “It’s an open book. When you find yourself face to face with tragedy and loss, sometimes the only thing left is hope and love. I guess that’s just the way it is.” This sense of loss is reflected perfectly in the songs sad yet ultimately uplifting mood.
This is an album that would have been ahead of its time but is most definitely a release for the here and now. Supakarma will be available as a strictly limited-edition vinyl (300 copies) release and available on all streaming platforms through Forte Distribution on August 4th.
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