Out of Whitechapel’s Ripper-tainted concrete wilderness comes rock minimalist BILLIONAIRE – AKA mid-twenties multi-instrumentalist John J Sterry. His music isn’t as dark as his current district’s pitch black history, but there is an air of nighttime about his brooding brand of lo-fi, which feels best-placed under the soft glow of moonlight amid an intoxicating throb of neons.
‘Fine Minds’ is his first single under this bold new riches-inspired solo guise, but he’s also the latest singer of revolving door post-punk legends Gang of Four no less and prior to being enlisted by sole-original Andy Gill, Sterry’s poetic lyrics were the lifeblood of promising capital-dwellers Gaoler’s Daughter. This, however, is his most accomplished work to date – a restrained rippling tune that comes on like a calypso-tinged The xx. Like that trio’s subtly nuanced pop, the newly-bleached Sterry feels as much influenced by voguish electronic sounds as guitar bands this time around, with the experimental synth licks tipping their hat to the likes of Four Tet and Caribou. “Wrong time at the wrong place / These are fine minds going to waste”, he utters in his sullen Kent-bred drawl during its moreish refrain; contrary to those of which he speaks, it seems BILLIONAIRE‘s introduction is perfectly executed.