Brothers are the Champs


John Murray on the debut album from the Champion siblings

Brothers Michael and David Champion formed their band Champs almost unnoticed until Radio 2 offered them a session ahead of their debut album.

Now with a year down the line the second album appears called VAMALA (Play It Again Sam).

Immediately by the time the opening track is heard you will need more.

Desire opens the album and with harmony and melody it already sounds like an old favourite while The Balfron Tower named after a forbidding tower block in East London reveals a look back and stark apology for those times when they lived there.

The highly personal style of writing offers relationships laid bare with melodic acoustic backing that does not dominate the lyrical content.

The boys are playing a few dates next month but I would expect a flurry of activity in the summer months.

Another duo The April Maze from Australia formed seven years ago.

Todd Mayhew (vocals, banjo, guitar) and Sivan Agam (vocal, cello, keys, banjo) produce a fine blend of new folk on their new album Sleeping Storm (MGM), released soon.

Harmonising and teasing with picking banjo and atmospheric cello which turns dark in bass tones on Inside Out and on So Many Songs with its 1960’s retro arrangement.

Their Scout Hall song is a sepia toned love recollection yet The Bishop Who Ate His Boots based on a true story sounds like a traditional folk club song still beloved by the purists.

Final duo of the week is where we remember Tyrannosaurus Rex who only hit mainstream when they became T Rex.

Polydor have issued three commemorative singles and have remastered the first three albums on CD, download and vinyl.

My People Were Fair..., Prophets... and Unicorn all have the guitar and vocals of Marc Bolan and percussion from Steve Took and the last collaborations as such before they split.

Marc recruited Micky Finn, became the electric warrior, shortened the name and the first single was Ride A White Swan reaching No. 2 in the UK before a new chapter began.