Bellatrix Glasgow: King Tut’s Wah Wa'n Hut, Wed 24 Mar.
The thing about Iceland is it’s very cool. Sure, it’s cool in the sense that the climate would freeze the knackers off a polar bear in two minutes flat, but it’s also cool in the sense of hip, trendy, fashionable, chic. Blame Jarvis Cocker and Damon Albarn who nicked off to Reykjavik to lick their wounds from the Britpop wars - attracted no doubt by the calm, the isolation and the evil local hooch — and then spouted off to the papers about what a wowfabgroovy place it was. Blame Bjork for globalising the notion of free-floe quirkiness. And now you can blame Bellatrix, the latest hot tip from the frozen north.
Bellatrix are a young five-piece (four girls, one bloke) who specialise in soaring pop tunes, dressed up with folky strummings and a nod to the dancefloor — a blueprint best heard on current single ’Silverlight’. They used to be called Kolrassa Krokidandi, the name of a troll woman from Icelandic legend which translates as ’Coal Arse Riding A Hook', but wisely changed name as part of an evil masterplan to try and get people whose names don't end in ’son’ or ’dottir' to start buying their records. Keen to compete on their own terms, Bellatrix
Skunk’s not dead: Campag Velocet
Cold cuts: Bellatrix
are careful not to rely to heavily on Iceland’s current cred currency.
’lt’s good for us to be here at this time and use these opportunities, but we have to prove that we’re not just some fashion fling from lceland,‘ says Eliza Geirsdottir, the 23-year-old lead vocalist and violinist who is also a trained opera singer.
Eliza and Co have been proving themselves admirably so far. A performance at the music industry’s In The City bash in Manchester last year saw them named by the NME as best unsigned band out of more than 100 acts. They followed this up with their first release available in Britain — the mini-album G — and have been courted by major record labels ever since.
However, not unlike some of the Welsh bands who have crossed over to mainstream success in recent years, Bellatrix have taken some flak back home for choosing to sing in English.
’Because we were doing all this folk stuff when we started, people thought we were really Icelandic or something,’ groans Geirsdottir. ’There’s nothing wrong in singing in English if you’re good at it. If you just sing ’I love you/la la loo’ then that’s different. But I consider myself quite good in English.’
Not to mention knocking out cracking pop tunes. (Peter Ross)
ﬂ? bands pinching your ii'eewheelin'
smash ’n' grab schtic;k betore cashing- lli the resulting kudOs7 Well, hell, Campag Velocet have had that and have had enough. Period it's time to head fate off at the pass.
'There’s never been any question of us giVing up,’ declares trontman, Pete Voss, in a VOICG like a drive-by shooting. ’It doesn't matter how long it's going to take or who's going to try to stop us.’
This wrought-iron determination is finally paying off. A triumphant live slot on Mary-Anne Hobb's recent Breezeblock tOur lubed the Velocet
momentum, while a Brat award the iiiagniiiterit Home Ct Loses nomination saw them charging Campag VEIOCQt perpetual 'tiiirt'estnaid status, it seems through the fame barrier. What's more, Glasgow: King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Sat failure’s spectre :s forever iying in wait, new single 'To Lose La Trek' — a crash 20 Mar. ‘ ready to gibber at ‘he tl'\.'r.“l'-(lllll)llit}li\ :ourse in cool for skunk-punks errant
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The sticky path to rock glory has always been littered v/ith tales of frustration, of defeat snatched from
particular tale iearls ilk: Once Upon A Til/'2'." i’ri Lifilltftii’l,
children ~ is their best yet. Failure, at last, seems well and truly behind them. But, for the ever-restless Voss and his battle-scarred battalion, it ain't
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a i t it seer be the best ' (Sarah Dempster)
This issue: H from Steps Last record you listened to before you left the house?
It was actually us on the radio on the way to the gig!
What's your favourite record at the moment?
’Runaway’ by The Corrs. It's the first song that got me into The Corrs.
Who is your favourite singer of all time?
Lionel Richie — he’s cool! And Stevie Wonder.
What was the last single you bought? The Boyzone record. For charidee. What was the last album you bought? George Michael's Ladies And Gentlemen.
Tell us about a great new band you've discovered?
At ~ they are our support on tour! Name a record that first made you want to make music?
Labi Siffre’s 'Something made So Swongﬂ
Name a song that you wish you‘d written?
'That’s What Friends Are For' — Dionne WarWICk.
In the film of your life, what's playing over the closing credits? ’SupercaIifragilisticexpielidocious’. Which of your own songs is your favourite?
’One For Sorrow'.
Name a non-musical influence on your music?
Who would be on your dream Top Of The Pops?
George Michael, Madonna and The Corrs.
Who would you be on Stars In Their Eyes?
What do you sing in the shower? 'Blame It On The Weatherman’ — B‘VVnChed.
What do you listen to when you're getting ready to go out?
Maxwell's unplugged CD.
Which pop stars do you have posters of in your bedroom?
Which records have you bought that annoy your parents?
'Boomballerina' by Timmy Mallet. What's the most embarrassing record in your collection?
Tiffany’s ’I Think We're Alone Now'.
If you owned a record label, who would be the first band you would drop?
Nobody.’ Everybody works hard. It would be cruel.
If you could be in any band other than Steps, who would it be?
& Steps play SEC C, Glasgow, Fri 26 Mar.