THE HICS

I belong to that category of people who get absolutely irascible when someone puts on music when they need to focus; little did I know that this major personality aspect would be changed forever when I stumbled upon The Hics’ SoundCloud. And so, it is gently lulled by the soothing voice of Roxana Dayette that I am currently writing a review about this very promising sextet that is bursting with talent and that is just starting to be recognized among the British underground scene.

Sam Paul Evans (vocals), Jacob Welsh (drums), Geordon Reid-Campbell (guitar), Matt Knox (bass), David Turay (saxophone) and Roxana Dayette (vocals), aged 17 to 24, almost all met at Pimlico School in London, where the band was formed and named after hickory (the wood drumsticks are made of). The Hics was at first a two-piece band and as it gradually grew into a six-piece, it was successful in imposing a rare and unique style that is not easy to define. Instrumentation-wise, their work is light and aerial, with gentle beats that subtly enhance the suavity of their slow melodies. To a sophisticated bass backdrop, Turay’s saxophone does the trick and sets the jazzy tone that is the trademark for the band. The Hics define their style as “electronic swing” but clearly their music is shaped by a variety of influences and rather goes into different styles, ranging from indie to jazz, with a touch of soul and even mild dubstep.

But what probably makes The Hics so distinctive is their vocals: Sam’s deep, masculine voice mingles with Roxana’s slightly melancholic but very sensual voice, which provides some gorgeous harmonies that fit in perfectly in the musical pieces. Lyrics follow on in the same vein as well, with a strong emphasis on fading and dissolution in Tangle, or a lament about a non-reciprocal love in Cold Air. One word to describe their work? It would probably be smooth.

The Hics therefore fit exactly in contemporary musical trends and their work is becoming increasingly popular. They released their first album last August, which you can download on Itunes and featured on the soundtrack of Grand Theft Auto 5. For more info, you can visit their official website, or follow them on Twitter or SoundCloud.

The Monty Hall Problem

Glasgow-based band The Monty Hall Problem have been making music for two years now. Having met at school, Lewis, Mark, Ryan, and Timmy quickly developed a great musical repore. Now, with an album coming out early next year that they have funded themselves, a record deal is on the horizon for the four piece combo.

From the formative stages in Glasgow, the boys are now steadily going their separate ways. They now bridge their hometown and Edinburgh, and play most of their gigs in these two cities. They make it work with a combination of hot talent and fierce dedication.

Music is the ultimate goal for all four: their indie, rock n’ roll vibe hones in on the sound of a younger generation, of which they, crucially, are a part. They write all of their own music, testament to outstanding creative powers, and the inspirational use of brass and keyboards gives a profoundly emotive tone to their songs. Their influences include the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Glasvegas, and the Vaccines. They draw a lot of comparisons with these last – tapping into that same young indie vibe, but putting a uniquely Glaswegian crunch on the lyrics and riffs.

Future plans include the promotion of their first album, entitled ‘Is This a Dream or Am I This Lucky’ after a track on the album. Under the tutelage of producer Roger Shephard, it will be out in early 2013. What follows is anyone’s guess, but there are whisperings of a UK tour. For now, check out upcoming gigs on their facebook page, or email that at themontyhallproblem@live.co.uk.

Come see The Monty Hall Problem play in Edinburgh next November 27th for the Scottish stint of the Born in Britain Creative Showcase. Details on the facebook event page.