The world of music has enjoyed a long and illustrious relationship with the game of chess. From Beethoven to David Bowie to the Wu Tang Clan, there have been numerous musical legends who, in their downtime, have loved nothing more than to pit their wits over the famous black and white checker-board.

To that list of luminaries we can surely insert the name APRE, the hotly-tipped London-based alt-pop outfit. The band’s central creative partnership, Charlie Brown (vocals) and Jules Konieczny (lead guitars), first met three years ago at Ealing Chess Club, when they bonded over Kings, Queens and, of course, their love for music. Deciding to start a band together, the duo ended up using the chess club’s backroom as their rehearsal space – and quickly established their own distinctive sound.

A bracing, beguiling collision of 80s-infused synth-pop and futurist alt-rock, APRE are as inspired by the observational lyricism of Pet Shop Boys as the indie lineage of acts like Foals, via the culture-colliding production of Peter Gabriel. Moreover, the band’s unashamedly epic sound is matched by suitably big themes. Whether tackling the current socio-political climate (‘Guns Down’), the more isolating aspects of technology (‘Everyone’s Commute’), or how modern relationships can survive all this, the duo’s expansive, emotionally engaging approach permeates all aspects of their songwriting.

Cutting their teeth on support tours with Sam Fender, Inhaler and Friendly Fires, alongside their own sell-out shows, the band are now readying the release of a debut mini-album, Always In My Head, for November. Carefully, stealthily, plotting their next move – APRE are well on course to becoming musical Grandmasters.

KEY TRACK: ‘Go Somewhere’. The band’s most recent single, this life-affirming slice of alt-pop perfectly highlights their talent for combining shrewd, observational narratives with sleek experimentation.

FOR FANS OF: Foals, Tears For Fears, Hurts.