THERE'S something stirring in the bushes. A bugged-out funky buzz beckons from the branches in the sweltering Mediterranean heat, as the loose disco guitar groove, sexy chanteuse vocals and stomping house beats emanate, calling you to dance. This is the sound of Cicada, a band whose summery sounds are bound to keep us warm through the winter chill and beyond.
"It was all coming out as quite summery material and we were thinking about going on holiday," explained band member Alex Payne about their curious name. "Listening to the sound of cicadas that you'd hear of an evening in the Mediterranean, the buzzing produced by the little bugs that you'd hear while you're sitting getting smashed, the name seemed to fit."
A trio formed from guitarist Aaron Gilbert, keyboardist Alex Payne and Icelandic sex kitten Heidrun Bjornsdottir (formerly of Gus Gus), news of their infectious grooves and dancefloor nous has been spreading like wildfire. With their self-titled debut album first released in 2006, Cicada have built a huge fanbase through word-of-mouth, bolstered by a formidable live reputation. Drawing on influences from all over, tracks like the slinky 'Beautiful', which coasts on a classic electro sample and Chic-style rhythm guitar, have that irresistible element that makes you need to move.
"How long a list of favourite artists can we have?" grinned Gilbert. "People like Blondie, Daft Punk, Hendrix and Prince. Nile Rodgers from Chic is kind of my hero. If I could change my style of guitar playing to anyone's, it would be him, I think."
On the strength of their already meteoric rise, Cicada have just re-released their debut album on Payne's independent label Critical Mass, which contains such killers as the dramatic synth-laden stomper 'Same Old Scene' and the punked-up dirty guitars of 'You Got Me Feeling', as well as the massive Dirty South remix of previous single 'Things You Say', which is likely to rip up any club.
But it's perhaps their live incarnation that sets Cicada apart. With a string of spectacular live sets already this year, including an appearance at Glastonbury, Cicada have successfully grasped that elusive beast: the ability to combine the house groove with genuine, tight live instrumentation, and they're itching to get back in the studio to test out their new and improved musical chops.
"The album was written with a lot of live instrumentation in mind, at a time when a lot of dance music was disappearing up its own arse a bit," revealed Gilbert. "It's kind of a reaction against that. And rather than just integrating live instruments over dance music, we thought this could be different. We're going to be starting work on new material in a little while, and playing live encourages you to want to go back and do new stuff."
This is one bug you'll want to catch.