Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know that I’ve been drawn to tales of adaptation and flexibility in the past months. The last year has been a global nightmare and many of us have just put our heads in our hands and screamed at it all. There’s nothing wrong with that. Others have used the shit situation to their advantage; they’ve got on with things despite the bum set of cards dealt. Those people deserve much respect.
I suspect that David Gane falls into that camp. A touring technician for some top stars (Lana Del Rey anyone), the collapse of the live industry hit him hard. But, to fill that void, he got in touch with mates, Mark and Matt, to jump-start a fledgling project back into life. The world now has two tracks from Apteekii to savour with a full EP to follow next month. Ever up for the challenge, the entire EP was recorded remotely with the trio being in separate locations; David and Mark are just down the road from here in Cambridge with Matt residing up in Stamford.
You wouldn’t know that this is the product of different studios; there are no obvious cracks in the seams with Apteekii. Take the first song of theirs that I heard – What’s Real’s a neat comment about fake news and the ridiculousness of Donald Trump. It’s impeccably performed pop, a statement that says we’re confident in what we’re doing and we think you’ll approve. Apteekii’s most recent single, Secrets, grows from this base; an enduring riff and a song all about the moment when living a lie becomes too much.
Apteekii get their name from the Finnish word for ‘pharmacy’. “We like the idea of music being a medicine, and bands or artists taking on the role as a kind of drug store/pharmacy.“, they mention in their press releases. I like that idea as well. These two tracks are definitely painkillers; sometimes soothing and always offering a decent distraction from the difficult stuff that’s going on.
In a little over a week’s time, all being well with flight schedules and PCR rest results, I’ll be back in the UK. Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know that I’m going to miss Spain greatly. The opportunity I’ve had since July to be over here whilst ‘working from home’ has clearly been a ‘once in a lifetime’ thing; a plus-point and unexpected consequence of the global pandemic.
I’ll be heading back to Crowland, Lincolnshire. I know that I’m resilient and that I’ll adjust to the cold, darker days and shorter supply of space. It’ll be reassuring to know that I’ll be on the same island as many more friends and family members (not that I’ll be able to see them). And the worst extremes of a British Autumn and Winter will hopefully have been missed. Spring and all of its glory is on the way, right?
Lincolnshire can’t exactly be described as a hotbed of Rock ‘n’ Roll development. Try to name a famous musician who was born or grew up in the County and you might struggle unless you’re the very switched-on sort at pub quizzes. In Spalding, they still remember the time that Jimi Hendrix played a festival in the town for no other reason (apparently) than this (from over 50 years ago) was also the last gig there of any note.
But maybe today’s featured Sonic Breakfast act are en route to beginning to put Lincolnshire on the music map? Kings & Bears are from a place somewhere in the County though they cunningly avoid telling me precisely where when I briefly chat with James, lead singer from the band, in advance of writing this piece. You can tell from the accompanying video to their energetic and wholly likeable track, When The Day, that this is a trio who knows how to party hard. It’s a song inspired by hazy nights and blurry mornings and there’s no surprise to see the three members of the band crumpled and comatose at the end of their excess – with a twist.
“It felt as though an out-and-out party vid just isn’t us,“, says James. “So we wanted to reflect this idea but imbue it with our own personality.”
‘When The Day’ is a three minute dose of joyful, classic Rock. The riffs and the vocal inflections will be familiar but this is well performed and will likely have you smiling as you sing along with the chorus. It’s a job well done for Kings & Bears who formed on the dawn of James’ 30th birthday after he freaked out about reaching such a grand age.
“For me it was about spreading a message of joy like so many of the artists that had influenced me,”, he offers.
Perhaps that return from Spain won’t be so traumatic after all…