Suffolk band is hitting the right note

SUFFOLK got rocking with the sound of Lowestoft's The Darkness, but is the county's chart success a one-band wonder? Jonathan Barnes spoke to a group who could be set to follow in their footsteps, and asked Radio One DJ Steve Lamacq to rate the chances of the current crop.

SUFFOLK got rocking with the sound of Lowestoft's The Darkness, but is the county's chart success a one-band wonder? Jonathan Barnes spoke to a group who could be set to follow in their footsteps, and asked Radio One DJ Steve Lamacq to rate the chances of the current crop.

THEY have been labelled "The New Darkness" – but the rock's latest shining lights are not prepared to be in the shadow of anybody.

Stowmarket's The Vaults could be next group of shaggy-haired rockers to mark Suffolk's place on the musical map, though they are not keen on comparisons to their county cousins from Lowestoft.

"We hate being compared to The Darkness – we're nothing like them," said Beaz Harper, the group's lead singer.


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"It's a compliment that people are writing our name alongside a band who are selling so well but, musically, we're not alike."

That said, the four-piece group's rocking riffs and crashing choruses – and their home county – mean they may have to put up with the comparisons for a while yet.

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The Vaults' No Sleep No Need EP broke into the top 75 of the singles charts at the weekend – a fine achievement for a new band, especially when you consider The Darkness' hit I Believe In A Thing Called Love only made number 180 when it was first released.

Baez, 24, said: "This is our first release eligible for the charts and we were aiming for the top 100, so that's great. It means we're getting somewhere."

The frontman is one of three Stowmarket boys in the line-up, along with bass player Richie Clark and drummer Mark Edwards. Jimmy Vandel, from Ipswich, is band's guitarist.

They have just completed a tour of small UK venues, including shows stretching from Southampton to Aberdeen in the space of 10 days. That follows a support slot with rock legends ZZ Top on their major arena tour last year.

"We've got a couple of days off after the tour, but we've got another Peel Session coming up and are doing some stuff for the Xfm radio station," said Beaz, who sees Nirvana and Motorhead as the band's big influences.

"We're also hoping to play a couple of festivals in the summer and perhaps release another EP. Things are up in the air on that front at the moment, but we're getting a good response and our gigs have been really well attended. We play old style rock n' roll – and there aren't many bands out there doing that."

STEVE LAMACQ SAYS: "The Vaults play with a lot of energy about them and the great thing is that they've been picked up by management who are willing to let them develop as a band, playing as many dates as possible, from small "toilets" to big venues with ZZ Top. They have grown up pretty quickly.

"They are pretty good musically and their singles have been good. But I don't think it's fair to compare them to The Darkness – they are an immediate, punchy, garage-type of band and I think they'll make it in their own way."

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