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Greg Kane, one half of Scottish pop duo Hue and Cry, talks ahead of Saturday’s Islington O2 Academy gig

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»Genre-hopping Scottish duo Hue and Cry’s latest effort could have turned out so very differently.

The pop act, who play the Islington O2 Academy on Saturday, were at something of an impasse when they started hatching plans for their 18th LP.

Singer and lyricist Pat Kane had his heart set on an album of ballads, while his younger brother and musical brains Greg was desperate to lay down their first fully-fledged funk record.

In the end, they settled their differences on a coin toss – and Greg got his way.

The affable younger Kane, 45, revealed: “When we’re planning a record we try to visualise it before we start. We have to both have a vision from the outset. This one was difficult because we were poles apart and I just wasn’t feeling a ballad album at all. We can’t be bothered to fight so it was decided on a coin toss – and I won.”

Greg’s first step was to hole himself up in a Highlands log cabin for 10 days, with enough food so he didn’t have to leave, and spend the time just listening to funk. “It was the most fun,” he said.

Hot Wire was released in March and marks nearly 30 years that the boys have been plying their trade.

Since scoring a string of hits in the late-1980s, including 1987’s Labour of Love, they have pushed the boundaries of pop by embracing everything from jazz to drum’n’bass. This time they melded funk with a lyrical focus on the financial crisis.

“We’ve always commented socially on what’s going on. We find it difficult to do love songs, and lyrically funk has to engage with me,” he said. “We started in 2009 and we thought the album wouldn’t be relevant anymore by the time we finished, but three years later and we’re still here. We’ve got mixed emotions – we’re glad it’s still relevant, but sad everything’s still stuffed.”

For the academy gig, the brothers adopted a novel way of drawing up their set. Greg said: “We have an online community called the Hue and Cry Music Club, and we crowd-sourced our fans for what they want us to play. All our music is up there to listen to for free and we based our set on the top-15 most listened to. We’ll also play about eight of the new tunes.”

He added: “We’re really looking forward to it. We’ve never played at the academy before, but lots of people keep telling us it’s great.”

n Hue and Cry at the Islington O2 Academy on Saturday, May 26. Tickets from £22.50 via Ticket Web on 08444 771 000 or www.ticketweb.co.uk

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