Sometimes in music, like in other areas of the arts, you need to look backwards to move forwards. Just as the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood of Millais, Rossetti and Holman Hunt looked back to the clean lines of pre-renaissance art, so the Leeds Brotherhood of Williamson, Wilson, Potter, Thornton and Hope take their inspiration from 80’s New-pop and 90’s Brit-pop.
On the Ropes starts with a swirly loop of backwards synth, (reminiscent of The Human League‘s Love Action). Next comes the choir (yes, choir!), ‘Ah, ah’-ing’ their hearts out to the atmospheric beat of an electronic kick drum. Moody. Apollo Junction are setting their sights high. They are aiming for something big. Something epic sounding.
Jamie Williamson’s vocals enter accompanied by a stark, electro, synth loop, (think Soft Cell or Depeche Mode). There’s a big-room anthem feel to this tune, and Williamson seems to be channeling the spirit of Tom Meighan (the good bits!) as he sings the chorus, ‘Oh baby, I see, I feel it, Oh baby, You got me on the Ropes’.
What I love about Apollo Junction’s sound is that they blatantly display their influences, they put them out there ‘front and centre’, while at the same time making music that is original and authentic. The Linn drum sounding beat that permeates through the song is pure, unadulterated 80’s electronica, and the guitar sound supplied by Matt Wilson has that big, delay sound that has echoes, literally, of The Edge. Put it altogether and you have pure Apollo Junction.
I said earlier that with On the Ropes Apollo Junction were aiming high, well they have hit their mark. It’s got the lot. It’s radio friendly, will go down brilliantly live (especially with the festival crowd, if that ever happens), and it’s even a great song to hear in the clubs (if they ever open).
Far from being on the ropes, Apollo Junction are stepping into the ring with 2021, ready to go toe-to-toe, and coming out swinging. On the Ropes is out on all good platforms from 22nd January.