With only a Radio 2 session to precede it, the debut album from brothers Michael and David Champion appeared like a bolt out of the blue. And for believers in the environmental influence on music, it makes sense the Champions hail from the hamlet of Niton outside the Victorian seaside enclave of Ventnor on the Isle Of Wight, as Down Like Gold sounded beautifully out of time and place, even with artists they could call peers. Combining elder brother Michael's exquisitely melodic, intensely dreamy and persuasively heartbreaking songs with their folk-pop leanings, his affecting vocal timbre, David's empathic lead guitar and reinforcing harmonies that only siblings seem able to make, the album was a unique statement - much like the word Vamala, which fell out of Michael's mouth as he was singing along to a new tune. "It had a nice ring, like a Croatian girl's name," he thought.
The follow-up album VAMALA (blame Michael's OCD for the capitals: "I like letters the same height!") follows only a year on after their debut. "The record-buying attention span is shorter these days," he reasons. "There's so much new music out there, so we wanted to get an album out quickly. But only as we had the songs."