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 Three Belles

These three lovely ladies are making new music in the old-fashioned way. Based in Woking, Surrey, and inspired by the Andrews Sisters and 1940s vintage, Betty (blonde), Dorothy (brunette) and Gail (redhead) are a vocal trio that celebrate the age of sophistication and swing.

Having formed as part of an assignment for their Creative and Performing Arts course at Portsmouth University, the Three Belles decided to take their show on the road after graduation, and have since travelled the length and breadth of the UK as professional singers and performers. Their sweet harmonies and toe-tapping style capture the essence of an era perfectly, and Betty, Dorothy and Gail have gotten young and old alike out of their seats and swingin’ all the way from Cornwall to Cumbria.

As well as performing, the Three Belles also plan and produce their own 1940s-inspired productions and events, most recently choreographing the sell-out swing experience “In The Mood” at Portsmouth and St Ives Guildhalls.

If you’d like to find out more about the Three Belles, visit their website or check them out on Facebook. Come on, join the party!

– Georgie