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Pop: Drugstore take on the World Cup

Now that the World Cup is upon us, June is a relatively quiet month on the gig front, with few bands brave enough to embark on a national tour that competes with the planet's greatest sporting festival.

Nevertheless, soccer-mad Drugstore, led by captain Isabel Monteiro (Brazil, bass and vocals) and featuring Mike Chylinski (USA, drums), Ian Burdge (England, cello) and Daron Robinson (England, guitar and vocals), take to the road in support of their catchy new single "Sober", the follow- up to the Top-20 "El President". On the B-side of "Sober" is an acoustic ditty called "Offside" in which Monteiro, a woman not short of an opinion or 11, has a dig at the English national team while waxing lyrical about the "greatest team in the universe", which, according to her, is Brazil.

"Now I feel so guilty because Gazza has been taken off the squad and one of the lines in the song says that Gazza is carrying too much weight. I really feel sorry for him. Oooh. He's a little bit overweight but it's a shame." Funnily, the day after we talked, it was the turn of the equally legendary Romario (whose skills are extolled on "Offside") to turn on the waterworks after he was dumped by Brazil.

But enough of soccer, as Drugstore seem well on their way on a world domination plan of their own in what marks a quite dramatic comeback after their previous label, Go! Discs, collapsed. They were forced into 18 months of negotiation, being unable to tour and do much recording. Monteiro spent her time making dozens of disturbing-looking voodoo dolls. "I can think of a thousand other things I could have been doing rather than making those dolls. But in a way it was a thing that kept the hope alive. Each month I'd make an extra 20 voodoo dolls thinking the album would be released, but it went on for 18 months."

Now those weird-eyed dolls comprise the cover art for their acclaimed White Magic for Lovers album, which has finally seen the light of day through Roadrunner Records.

Although Monteiro feels that the band's best album is yet to come, it's nonetheless a grand 12-track sweep of meaningful and tuneful pop. "It's a romantic album. It's in love with life. I like to think the songs show some element of basic human emotion."

All of the songs could be singles, which can only add to Drugstore's reputation as a great live band.

With a successful tour of Europe under their belts and a slot on the hugely successful Lilith Fair tour to come this summer in the USA, it could well be that Drugstore will be having a better time come final day on 12 July than England, or maybe even Brazil, for that matter.

In the meantime - sorry Isabel - but, for me, it's Viva Argentina!

Dingwalls, Camden Lock, NW1 (0171-267 1577) 16 Jun. Also at Virgin Megastore, Oxford Street, W1, 23 Jun, 6pm