And the son of UB40's singer is one of the svengalis behind it...

A new cartoon band is set to be launched to challenge [/a]’s crown.

The V-Birds, a four-piece collection of all-female animated robots, have been designed by Ali Campbell, son of UB40 star of the same name, and graphic arts student Dann Hanks.

Like [a], the four, Boom, DJ Wow, D’Lin and Lurp, will be given distinct individual characteristics. Boom is the streetwise rapper of the group; vocalist Lurp is billed as the cutest member; D’Lin, whose name is short for darling, is the brains; and Wow, is the band’s DJ. The quartet star in a comic strip that has already been circulated around clubs in the West Midlands.

UB40’s drummer, James Brown, is helping to compose the tracks. Voices have been provided by local session singers.

Brown told yesterday’s (February 10) Observer newspaper the music was a hybrid of reggae, dance, hip-hop and other musical styles. Nick Colgan, his partner at the Star Company studio in Birmingham where the idea was born, told NME.COM today that they were hoping to release the first single, ‘Smoove’, at the end of March or early April. He added that there was an influence of ‘Tank Girl’ in the V-Birds animation.