By Ian Youngs
BBC News entertainment reporter
Hoping for a 1970s-style soft rock revival, The Feeling have come third in the BBC's Sound of 2006 new music survey.
The poll was compiled using recommendations from more than 100 music critics and broadcasters. We are revealing one artist from the top five every day until Friday, when the winner and full top 10 will be announced.
A ski resort in the French Alps is not an obvious stop on the gig circuit for budding British bands.
But as musical apprenticeships go, The Feeling say playing covers to drunk tourists for a few months was the best way to learn what drives a crowd wild.
The five-piece were the resort's house band, playing "souped up" versions of pop songs that did not make them cringe, they say.
That included everything from You Really Got Me by The Kinks to Video Killed the Radio Star by Buggles and Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles.
The Feeling claim to be "the new gods of cool MOR"
"Those classic pop songs do teach you a lot about writing," says singer and guitarist Dan Gillespie.
They learnt what was in "those classic songs that make them attractive to people", he says.
Bassist Richard Jones adds: "You learn how to order things and build people up so by the end they're in a frenzy and they're not sure why."
Those lessons were duly noted, taken home and used to craft the catchy prog-pop repertoire The Feeling are about to unleash.
Their record company biography proclaims them to be "the new gods of cool MOR" - at least 20 years after it was last remotely cool to be anywhere near the middle of the road.
But The Feeling are convinced fans will not care if their particular brand of fuzzy, radio-friendly rock has not been in fashion for a couple of decades - as long as it sounds good.
They aim to occupy the musical territory between the Scissor Sisters and The Darkness - not as outlandish but with similar 1970s influences, an uplifting aura and, above all, hummable hits.
When asked for their musical heroes, The Feeling almost forget to mention The Beatles and Beach Boys because they think such legends are so obvious.
The next name they drop is Supertramp, the unfashionable but hugely popular MOR rockers with whom The Feeling share a definite musical affinity.
Then come ELO, 1970s David Bowie, early Elton John, Pink Floyd and Queen.
Pop and proud
Gillespie, who met the rest of the group at music college 10 years ago, is driven by the desire to write the perfect three-minute pop tune.
He is striving to create a song "so entirely perfect that it's undeniable, no matter what haircut you've got, no matter what style you call it", he says.
The Feeling are one of a growing number of bands out to remind people that groups with guitars can play pop music without sounding like Busted or McFly.
Mainstream UK music has been too dominated by boy bands and indie bands in recent years, Gillespie says.
"You couldn't find any middle ground, you know?" he says. "All we wanted was to write popular songs and be in a band, but at the same time not be crap."
The Sound of 2006 survey was compiled from the tips of more than 100 impartial music critics and broadcasters, who were asked to give the names of their favourite three new artists. The acts with the most tips were then ranked to compile the Sound of 2006 list.