This saintly sextet have been likened to iconic 80s band Madness but the Ealing group are hoping to spice up the ska rock scene with their lyrics rejecting populist culture.

The Popes of Chillitown, named after an episode of The Simpsons, released their album Buy One Get One Free at the end of 2008 and are hoping to attract a cross-generational audience with their catchy two-tone reggaeinfused ska songs.

Rishi Chopra, a 24-year-old acoustic guitarist and co-founder of the band, said they draw their inspiration from The Smiths and The Specials but also continental music such as Manu Chao, as all the members studied languages at university.

The former Drayton Manor pupil said: "Our music isn't straight up ska pop and we think those who don't usually listen to reggae or ska will like it. We have such different musical tastes, such as indie, rock, and drum and bass and we have turned our individual inspirations into a unique sound.

"Our lyrics are quite topical - we could spend our time writing about unrequited love but wanted to be more cerebral and send a message to people that there is an overabundance of information and a push for people to overspend, but you don't have to be drawn into this mass consumerist culture."

And after being together for a year, the five young men and one female saxophonist decided to go against the grain and produce a self-released album rather than wait to be discovered.

Rishi, who works in advertising said: "We can claim we're completely organic in doing it from inside-out. Noone created Madness in the 80s - they had their own identity and were loyal to themselves. Why wait for Mr Phoney to come and find you when you can do it yourself?"

And as for being likened to Madness, Rishi said it was a pleasing comparison and they have already started to tread in their footsteps after playing their first gig in Dublin Castle, where the Baggy Trousers stars were first discovered.

Since forming last year, Austen Cruickshank (singer), Arvin Bancil (bass), Ewan Cant (lead guitar), Steve Morning (drummer) and Liz Mitchell (saxophone) have collaborated with K.I.N.E.T.I.C and supported Freetown at the Hackney Empire in June, claiming it as their greatest achievement.

The Popes have also played at The Ginglik in Shepherd's Bush, a high-profile comedy and music venue which has seen the likes of Robbie Williams and showcased a plethora of local bands.

But despite their dreams of playing at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, Rishi said he owes his success to the support of friends and family in Ealing.

"I'm really happy to have lived here in the borough crowned the Queen of the Suburbs and got my chance to play music from the first day I met Austen at Ealing Green.

"We went to school together and started to learn the guitar and by the age of 15, I started writing my own songs.

"After graduating from Nottingham University, we recruited Arun and Liz, and despite being the only girl in the group, she's quite a ballsy character and never has any difficulty getting her voice heard.

"We are always playing music and want to make music that our friends and family will like.

"We tried to be gimmicky at the beginning like the Spice Girls with 'Baby' and 'Sporty' but this is what our music is speaking out against.

"We are individuals with different interests - I am the only one who likes football for instance and this is what makes our music so unique."

The band are performing a headline act at Bush Hall, Shepherd's Bush Hall on Friday, January 23.

For further information, visit