SupaJamma follows up their critically acclaimed EP That Was Then, This is Now (not a cover of The Monkees) with a single that defies characterization. You may know leader singer Martin “Sugar” Merchant from Britpop era favorites, Audioweb. Name checked by Ian Brown of The Stone Roses, opening for U2 – they were a special band that captured the zeitgeist of the late 90’s. SupaJamma picks up where Audioweb left off, with a a slightly more menacing edge. The band is a force to be reckoned with and features Sugar on vocals, Simon Collier on bass (also head of StereoKill Recordings), Lord Bevs on guitar, Steve Wilson on keys / backing vox, and Dan Adams on drums and back vox. Hope and Pray is anchored by a killer bass line that adds a dark vibe to the tune. Sugar’s vocals waver between soulful crooning and reggae style toasting. A sense of urgency builds as the track progresses, the band locking into a groove that is positively infectious. For those fans of The Chameleons (and I’d imagine there is some overlap), think of how Kwasi and Mark Burgess exchanged verses on their 2001 reunion album, Why Call It Anything. The vocal interplay is somewhat similar here, but with Sugar handling all vocal duties. The darkness threatens to overwhelm but always returns to the sweetly sung chorus “Each night I hope and pray / that i will live to see another day”. Perfect. Can’t wait to see what comes next from this great Manchester band. The track is available from all digital outlets and comes highly recommended. I’ve posted preview links as well as a video from their last EP to give you an idea of what this band can do. Check it out.
Verdict: Toasting to SupaJamma
For Fans of: Audioweb, Bob Marley, Gang of Four, PIL, Blur