"Independent and unrepentant”- a more succinct introduction to St Albans act The Scratch you’d struggle to find.

Formed some seven years ago the lads have, by the standard of most comparable acts, enjoyed huge success: releasing two studio albums, clocking up hours of national radio play and appearing alongside the likes of the Charlatans and Paul Weller – nice work if you can get it.

So why aren’t they better known? Why hadn’t they crossed my radar until some kind soul had a word in my ear?

“Good question,” replies jovial front man Andy Thomson “I wish I knew.”

Allow me, then, to fill in the blanks. Formed by a group of “middlingly successful" but disillusioned musicians in the early naughties The Scratch are an irresistibly catchy punk/pop outfit with a growing fan base across the UK.

In 2007 they played in front of more than 20,000 people at the MEN Arena after winning an XFM backed competition to support a charity gig supported by a veritable who’s who of the Brit Pop scene.

Other notable festival slots have seen them appear at the Tony Wilson memorial In the City gig, and alongside idols the Buzzcocks in the muddy fields of Dorset.

Blending raw Buzzcocks era punk with edgier, catchier influences such as TRex and (even) Adam and the Ants, the guys are planning (and may have the talent for) national recognition but, for the time being at least, are happy to keep doing what their doing.

Chatting after the much anticipated lauch of new single Against the Grain Andy reflected on past achievements and spoke philosophically about the uture.

“We’re a group of guys of a certain age,” he adds, craftily dodging the routine ‘who old are you’ question with aplomb.

“We take our influences from the 90s and even earlier so, yes, we sound a lot different to a lot of the younger acts out there.

“We’ve had what you could call a career spike in some of the bigger gigs we played but we don’t see it as a bad thing.

“We didn’t set out on a quest for world domination – we are just a group of guys who love music; it’s so much a part of our lives that we could never leave it behind.

“If there’s even one person that gets what we’re doing then that’s great by us.”

It’s an attitude in keeping with the band’s “DIY until we die” ethos.

Never wishing to be dictated to, their albums to date, Night Bus and the Milk Train (2006) and DIY (2004), have been released on their own label Pony Land.

“Like I say – we’re happy doing what we’re doing,” adds Andy. We don’t want to be lectured; to be told what to wear, what to say, and what tracks to release. We can only be who we are.”

Here here.

The guys won’t be back in St Albans until late March.

I advise, however, that you check out thescratch.co.uk in the meantime. Fill your ears and open your minds.