Formed in Kent back in the late 90s, British electro pop act H2S04 — Graham Cupples (keys, programming), Darren Till (keys, programming) and James Butler (vocals, bass) — features a collection of accomplished musicians: Cupples previously led techno acts Mortal and Code. Till played with Cupples in Code. Butler contributed bass and vocals in indie rock act Lobster, which was once known as Sulpher.
Initially tracing their origins back to when they started experimenting with a series of remixes, the members of H2S04 began writing original material that blended electronica, rock and techno paired with a special attention to songwriting. Their debut single, 1998’s “Little Soul,” quickly became popular in their native England — and because of its extremely limited release, a collector’s item.
The trio’s 1999 full-length debut Machine Turned Blues featured the aforementioned “Little Soul,” as well as “I Need Feel,” “The Way I Want,” and “Imitation Leather Jacket,” a track that was a favorite among British DJs that also received radio play here in the States. They supported Machine Turned Blues by playing a series of festivals across the British festival circuit, including Glastonbury — and they played shows in Canada and Chicago.
2000’s Glamtronica saw the British trio further establishing their sound while adding a playful sense of satire to the mix. The act largely disappeared until 2015’s Under Control and 2021’s Love and Death.
2022 has been a busy year for the British trio with the release of two singles:
- “Fast Cars,” a swaggering Brit Pop meets Big Beat banger that sonically nodded at the likes of Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers and Evil Heat era Primal Scream — and meant to be played as loudly as possible.
- “Best Shot” a strutting bop centered around fluttering and glistening synths, a funky bass line, bursts of funk guitar, congo accents and Butler’s insouciant cooed delivery paired with an infectious hook. Sonically, the track nods at Electronic‘s “Getting Away With It” and The Chemical Brothers “Come With Us” but with a chilled out, lounge/salon friendly vibe.
H2S04’s latest single “Electroworld” is a sleek and slickly produced track that continues a run of material that’s club and lounge friendly. Featuring thumping beats, glistening and wobbling synth arpeggios and Butler’s insouciant yet sultry delivery, “Electroworld” is rooted in the trio’s unerring knack for crafting an infectious, razor sharp hook.