The last single from the great SupaJamma with the great Martin “Sugar” Merchant on vocals? Say it ain’t so! Last year Merchant left SupaJamma on friendly terms, leaving the band to carry on with special guest singers. The last recordings with Merchant are being released, with We Run Tings being touted as the last single (surely there is an anthology forthcoming – one can hope and pray). Curiously the band is releasing their strongest song as their final single, which speaks of what a tight unit the lads in SupaJamma are / were. As a recap, the band features Sugar on vox, Simon Collier on bass, Lord Bevs on guitar, Steve Wilson on keys, and Dan Adams on drums. We Run Tings is driven by a killer bass line and Portishead type orchestration. The band is on fire, absolutely everything gels here. The vocals alternate between dancehall toasting and sweetly crooned vocals. Again, during those sweetly sung sections it reminds me just a bit of Portishead in the best possible way. The key line from the song that I keep returning to is “let’s get together / let’s all unite”. An uplifting message and a wonderful song to close out this chapter in the SupaJamma story. A reminder of the power of music and the euphoria it can bring. The single is available at most of the major digital retailers and again is being released by Stereokill Recordings, who are releasing music from some of the finest indie bands out there today. Nice one.
Verdict: Classic Single
For Fans of: Audioweb, The Chameleons, Ian Brown, Bob Marley, Portishead, Gang of Four, PIL
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
Where to preview / buy: USA link / UK link