Here’s something a little unusual. We have a supergroup on our hands! I was slightly struggling to remember other supergroups, in fact, once I’d got beyond The Traveling Wilburys, but Wikipedia has a ton of them listed. You may (or may not) recall Duran Duran splitting in the mid 80’s for side projects The Power Station (John and Andy Taylor with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson) and Arcadia (Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor – actually, 60% of Duran Duran without anyone else probably isn’t a supergroup). Then there were Mike and the Mechanics, Electronic… Supergroups seem to have stopped being the flavour of the year recently, but now we have the arrival of Minor Victories. The band consists of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and Editors’ Justin Lockey, along with Lockey’s brother James from Hand Held Cine Club. Lead single ‘A Hundred Ropes’ is climbing the Heatseekers Chart, having jumped to No 10 last week. It’s perhaps not surprising that the band tell us that their sound is an amalgam of the music made by their ‘own’ bands, and in ‘A Hundred Ropes’ you can see the influences immediately, with Braithwaite’s choppy guitar intro, the hypnotic synths and Goswell’s floaty vocal acting as a striking counterpoint. I like the way that the vocals remain ethereal as the music hots up in the background.
Next up we have the latest band to emerge from the booming music scene in Brighton. Yonaka are a four piece – Theresa Jarvis on vocals, George Edwards on guitar, Alex Crosby on bass and Robert Mason on drums – and they make music described as ‘dark pop’. It’s actually rather better than that – the combination of chilling synths, layered with powerful guitars and Jarvis’ excellent vocals is potent and hypnotic. Yonaka means ‘the dead of night’ in Japanese, and it’s a pretty apposite name as the band’s music reflects the dark side of their otherwise rather sunny personalities. Their live show is winning plenty of followers, and when they produce music as strong as first cut ‘Run’ and current Heatseekers climber ‘Ignorance’ you will not be surprised about this. ‘Ignorance’ kicks off with quiet guitar before the gears kick up, the music soars and Jarvis displays a very impressive, powerful vocal range. What is it about rock bands led by female vocalists? They’re great, aren’t they?
Finally, let’s say hello to East London’s Jones. Born Cherie Jones, she had already established a reputation for silky soul before her gorgeous current single ‘Hoops’ appeared. The song has tons of the things I most like in music, right to the quiet, almost hesitant start with gentle synth beats and some popping static. The music builds as Jones gives us a tale of unrequited love: “Stone cold landing, I’m still where you left me” she sings, adding “I’ve seen all your faces – it’s not love”. But she can’t let go… although she knows the whole thing is hopeless. “Even if I could be close to you – you never break the fall”. Her voice is beautifully melodic, and the song is beautifully sad and courageously sung. And the production from Josh Record is sublime. Jones could be a major star in the making.