Sir-Vere has released his album titled ‘Lovescope’. A solid mix of solid genres wrapped in an originality that is a distinctive as it is descriptive, Sir-Vere literally make a future classic in the scope of major label giants on an independent level without the constraints of label execs.
And, while those execs know not what to do with music like this, thankfully, the fans do. They listen. And listen some more. Because that is what this music is. It’s a statement. A set of feelings molded into soundtracks for those moments of your life you need them the most. Take this in, individually, and feel the album as a collective. This is what good albums are for. And great albums will do that for a lifetime.
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“We stick to our guns,” says Craig Hammond of Sir-Vere, “you could almost call it stubbornness.”
That resolute nature, almost bordering on missionary zeal, has certainly served the Milton Keynes groove merchants well. The band’s musical aesthetic, to fuse the filth and the fury of punk and the power of rock with the irrepressible momentum of breakbeat, house and techno technology, is one that has, in the past, foxed the rather straight-thinking minds of the music industry. “We’ve been sat in meetings with A&R men in record labels,” recalls Craig, “and they’re saying ‘we like it, but we don’t know what to do with it.”
That was an attitude that never put the band off their avowed course, naturally. They’ve kept themselves busy – way, way busier than the average musical outfit, it has to be said – with a constant stream of productions, EPs and remixes that suits the modern distribution model of streaming platforms and word of mouth, viral promotion right down to the ground. In their native stomping ground they may go relatively unnoticed – “Milton Keynes has never really been great to us,” says Craig. “It’s the sort of place that’s good if you’re a new, up and coming band, but once you’re beyond that…” Instead, they’ve been steadily building themselves an impressive and ever-expanding audience – check their streaming and video views for further evidence – that includes significant pockets of fans in South America and Eastern Europe, alongside the more traditional markets of the UK, US and Europe.
And in time, of course, the world – aided, again, by the inevitable rise of eclecticism and corresponding breakdown in musical tribalism that the net age has heralded – has eventually started to catch up with Sir-Vere’s ahead-of-its-time vision. From both sides of the rock/dance genre divide, bands from Sleaford Mods to Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers have slowly made such distinctions seem irrelevant, laughable even.
But resting on their collective laurels is no option for the newly expanded Sir-Vere. With the long standing line up of Craig Hammond (vocals), Gary Morland (guitars, bass, keyboards, production) and Stevie Vega (keyboards, DJ) recently augmented by the arrival of singer Ian McEwan, the wheels of their latest evolution seem to have been set in motion yet again.
For starters, the band’s vocal profile has been opened out. Hammond’s role, providing the punky angst and literary commentary, poised as much as a reggae toaster as the frontmen – see Mark E Smith, Jaz Coleman, Adam Ant – he’s been compared to, has been given a new dimension with the foil of Ian McEwan’s more angelic, soaring lung power. “He’s coming from a different angle again” reckons Morland, “he’s really into bands like The Psychedelic Furs and Pixies, and it’s great dropping that into the mix of the rest of us. He and Craig have really different styles, they really complement each other.”
This ‘beauty and the beast’ approach to microphone duties is matched by a new impetus to move towards more live playing, a change hinted at on their last ‘Psycho Ballistic Funk’ album. “I think on the newest stuff we’ve been producing,” says Morland, “almost everything on the recording has been played live rather than programmed.” That’s not to say, of course, that it hasn’t gone through the rigorous editing and sorting process that all their tracks endure on the way to the finishing post, but as Morland says “you can really tell, there’s just a different feel to it.”
Emerging from lockdown, the band are as productive as ever, with plans for not one but two new albums in 2021 in the pipeline, starting with ‘Singulus’. “Originally it was intended as a singles collection,” says Craig, “but as often happens with us, it’s changed inro something a bit different, almost more like a sister album to ‘Psycho Ballistic Funk’.”
In many ways, it’s a stepping stone between the more strictly club orientated version of the band to the more hands on, live-sounding version of Sir-Vere that they’re gradually evolving into, as perhaps most prominently evidenced on the blistering last single ‘Hunger’, which sees the new twin vocal set up operating on full dramatic firepower, Craig urging us to “keep the juices flowing” while Ian soars majestically over the mix to provide the signature hook.
With their eyes ever fixed on the possibilities of the future, but their feet remaining fixed to the visceral gyrations of the dancefloor, this is the sound of SIR-VERE sticking to their guns. And a glorious sound it is.