A week after their positive showing in the Harlequin’s Battle of the Bands, Media Hype talk music, lonely hearts ads, skinny jeans, and what comes next with NEIL SKINNER.

‘Quirky’, ‘zany’, ‘off-the-wall’: call them what you will. Either way it’s safe to say that Media Hype are something just a little bit different.

The Hemel-based four-piece have been turning heads on the local scene for more than a year now – claiming a richly deserved runners-up spot in both the WO’s Battle of the Bands competition and a similar jaunt organised by the Harlequin last week. So what are they all about?

“Rich Harmonies, funky rhythms, serious songs about stupid things,” explains curly haired front-man Jon Croker with commendable succinctness. “We’re really about having good time and making people laugh.”

I thought as much. A half-hour-or so with the guys is enough to bring a smile to the face of just about anyone – newly skint investment bankers included.

With laugh-aloud lyrics riding shotgun to racing, camp (in a good way), Beach Boys inspired melodies, the lads deliver a timely poke in the eye to bland conformity; very much opting to do their own thing.

It’s just as well, then, that this ‘own thing’ works pretty well, with seemingly improbable acapella interludes (Blue Moon included) shoe-horned into an ever changing and increasingly popular set-list. No brooding, introspective teenage twaddle here, then?

“No chance. We’re a bit too old for all of that,” adds Jon. “We’re a bunch of guys in our mid-twenties and we can’t pretend otherwise.

“We grew up listening to REM, the Barenaked Ladies and Wheezer – our influences are pretty different. We’ve always done our own thing and it’s starting to pay off.”

Indeed, after first striking a chord in anger back in the late 90s (the fledgling band fell by the wayside when the lads went to University) their decision to reform last year looks like a good one, with a growing, fiercely loyal fan-base driving the lads onwards and upwards.

“It’s going really well. We decided to focus on gigging in the London area to get ourselves known by more people.

“We’ve finally got people coming down and singing along – which is really all we can ask for.

“Some have even started their own dance routines to a couple of tracks which is amazing to see.”

“It’s not something we aim for – we just have a laugh and don’t take ourselves seriously. A lot of stuff we just adlib on the night.

“We do a lot of acapella bits and one of our tracks, Dirty Love, we pretty much write from scratch every night. We go the idea from the Watford Observer actually. We were looking through the lonely hearts ads and thought what a great idea it would be for a song.

“We wrote the melody and structure down but change the words each time. Wherever we play we get a local paper and take it from there.

“One verse is from the man’s point of few (I want a woman with long les who’s a great cook and good in bed, etc) and the other from the woman’s point of view.

Wherever we’re playing we grab a copy of the local paper and adlib it from there.

“It’s something a bit different but people seem to love it.

Sing alongs? Dacnce routines? Adlibbing? Sounds like the beginnings of a British Sea Power-like cult following to me. What’s next – dressing as bears on stage?

“I don’t know about that but we’re putting some thought into it. A lot of the time we look like we’ve just come up from the audience so we’re trying to wear matching shirts and ties to stand out. We thought about skinny jeans but I don’t think anybody really wants to see us in those.”

Media Hype (named after an early, pre university song, in case you were wondering) are hoping to release their debut EP at some point next year. Watch this space for details.

The lads play the Horn, St Albans, tonight and the Horns, Watford, on Monday.

For more details please see www.mediahype.org.