Gloss are a brand spanking new band. You may well not have heard of them just yet, but discoveries as good as this rarely remain secret for long. The world of Pop is about to receive a much needed, sexy makeover.
There are five members in Gloss, five individuals from places like Liverpool, Norway and even further north. But the face and voice of the band set to make a very big impression in 2001 belongs to this one: "I tell you, I needed an excuse to get out of Iceland, any excuse," she says, eyes wide and full of purpose. "So I found one, and I left as quickly as I could."
Leaving behind a world of theatre, film, and occasional beauty contests, Icelandic singer Heidrun Anna came to England and promptly enrolled in Liverpool's prestigious Institute of the Performing Arts. If truth be known, she wasn't entirely fussed at the prospect of studying Music academically for the next three years, but she desperately wanted to be around like-minded people and wasted little time in integrating herself within the local music scene. It worked because, within a year, she'd dropped out and formed Gloss. And, no, she's not looked back since.
"I met lots of people initially," she says, "but for one reason or another, it never quite worked out. I thought a lot about going solo. Then, one night at a friend's house, I met Paul (Cavanagh), and we clicked. Immediately. After that, there was never any doubt what we were going to do."
Gloss, then: on bass, we have Scouser Martin Lynch; on drums, fellow Scouser Paul Maguire (formerly of the criminally-underrated Liverpudlian outfit The Stairs); and on keyboards, there is Norwegian Jonas Theis. The band's nucleus revolves around Heidrun Anna and guitarist Paul Cavanagh. Cavanagh had previously played in baggy casualties Top, then served time in Smaller, and toured the country with Television's Tom Verlaine. For several years, he was a guitarist-for-hire, but dreams of band glory never quite left him.
"At first, I thought I'd just write a couple of songs for Heidrun, but we quickly found out that we were on exactly the same wavelength, so wedecided to make things more permanent," he says. They started rehearsing, then playing live locally and, on the strength of a three-track demo, Gloss were signed to Nude records on Bonfire Night, 1999. They went into the studio armed with songs, Cavanagh convinced he'd finally struck gold. "Heidrun is a star," he says. "I knew that from the first minute I set eyes on her."
He's right, too.
Heidrun Anna grew up in Reykjavik with ambitions to perform. Despite an early fondness for Olivia Newton John, she proved herself a very sussed songwriter and was later influenced by the likes of Carole King, Abba and, especially, Blondie. "The moment I first saw Debbie Harry on TV," she says, "I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life."
By the time she hit her late teens, she was starring in locally-produced plays and, after leaving school, she joined the Icelandic Theatre Group. During the summer of 1994, she clocked up over 90 performances in the musical Hair. (Perhaps tellingly, she's not returned to the stage since.)
Then, following an appearance in a short film alongside one of Iceland's most innovative bands Gus Gus, she formed her first group, Cigarette. Here, she quickly found success, and their first album reached number six in the charts. She remained unsatisfied, however, finding the local music scene somewhat claustrophobic. "I wanted a more cosmopolitan climate," she says. "And with Gloss, that's exactly what I found."
And so to the music. Gloss make pop music, and they do it so skillfully to appear perfect. And this, incidentally, is pop music that has nothing to do with blonde boys and bouncy girls. No. It comes instead from a rather rich heritage: "We are very much influenced by a lot of French music," says Heidrun. "Serge Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy, Air. French music is so atmospheric, and that's what we strive to achieve." Coupling this pronounced Gallic air with the pregnant melodies of Burt Bacharach and the aforementioned Blondie, Gloss have come up with what sounds like an entirely wondrous formula: forthcoming tracks like Lonely In Paris, My Heart Belongs To You and This Is All I Need are flat-out fabulous, full of panache, style and considerable sex appeal, their very existence proof that pop - as we used to know and love it - isn't dead after all, because here, Gloss resurrect it magnificently.
Their debut album follows this summer, and is destined to be a stunner. Its title? "The album is called Gloss. Just Gloss," says Paul, with a smirk. "We were up all night with that one."
So too will you be.
Still want to know more? Here are the favourite books, films and of course music of each of the band members:
Books: Perfume by Peter Suskind, Palli, Er, Einn by Heiminum, High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, Dusty Springfield Story.
Films: Thomas Crown Affair, American Beauty, Cinema Paradiso, It's A Wonderful Life, 101 Rekejavic.
Music: Carol King - It's Too Late, Blondie - Heart Of Glass, Al Green - Tired Of Being Alone, Sex Pistols - Submission, The Pretenders - I Go To Sleep.
Books: Short Stories of Raymond Carver, Perfume by Peter Suskind, Crime And Punishment by Dostoycusky, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, Catcher In The Rye by J D Sallinger.
Films: The Graduate, Blade Runner, Cinema Paradiso, Jean de Florette, Manon De Source, The Loneliness Of A Long Distance Runner.
Music: Beach Boys - God Only Knows, Marvin Gaye - What's Goin' On?, Television - Marquee Moon, Massive Attack - Unfinished Symptathy, Nico - Chelsea Girls.
Books: Hobson's Choice, American Dream by Norman Mailaer, The Fight by Norman Mailaer, The Guvner by Lenny McLean, On The Road by Jack Kerouac.
Films: Withnail And I, The Wicker Man, Pappilon, The Godfather, Contact.
Music: John Barry - The Man And The Music, Peter Tosh - Equal Rights, Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, J.J. Cale - Okie, The Beatles - Revolver.
Books: Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks, The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck, Junky by William Burroughs, Doors Of Perception by Aldus Huxley.
Films: Enter The Dragon, The Wicker Man, Withnail And I, Blade Runner, Star Wars.
Music: Captain Beefheart - Clear Spot, Miles Davis - So What, Sly And The Family Stone - There's A Riot Going On, Massive Attack - Protection, Love - Forever Changes.
Books: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenence by R. Prizig, L by Erlend Loe, American Psycho by B.E. Ellis, The Year Of The Rabbit by Arto Tasilinna.
Films: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Man Bites Dog, Ghost Dog, Ill Positino, Delicattesen,
Music: Britney Spears - Baby One More Time, John Coltrane - Giant Steps, Sould Quarians, Republiken, Tee Productions.