Over the course of the past year, I’ve spilled a lot of ink covering British electro pop outfit H2SO4. Formed in Kent back in the late 90s, the act — 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 H2SO4 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. They disappeared again until last year’s Love and Death.
This year, H2SO4 has been very busy with the release of three 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.
- “Electroworld,” a sleek and slickly produced, club and lounge friendly bop featuring thumping beats, glisteninlg and woobly synth arpeggios and Butler’s insouciant yet sultry delivery paired with the trio’s unerring knack for crafting an infectious, razor sharp hook.
- “Best Shot,” a strutting bop with an infectious hook that nods at Electronic‘s “Getting Away With It” and The Chemical Brothers “Come With Us” but with a chilled out, lounge/salon friendly vibe.
The BassBears remix of “White Light,” is a house music inspired track centered around glistening synth arpeggios, wobbling bass synths, skittering beats paired with Butler’s vulnerable delivery and a rousingly anthemic hook. The end result is a club banger that sonically is a synthesis of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Balearic house.