They were formed in 1985 from the death of the band Fingerprintz (probably one of the worst band names ever). The aim was to make in the words of their website "guitar based atmosphere pop with one foot in the 60s and one in the 80s" (dont be put off by that!). The emphasis was definitely on melody
" A letter to St Paul" was the first lp and i first got into this via the title track which Anne Nightingale played on her request show. I really liked the tune and the girl's spoken vocal made it stand out. I bought the lp cheap in Boots (remember when they sold music?) it was a bit of a gamble at a time when I had not much money so it was a bit of relief when the rest of the lp was packed with catchy guitar pop typified in 3 singles "I Can't Cry" , "I see Red" and "Painted Moon" (which listening again does seem to lift the bassline from the Waterfront)
Apparently the lp was recorded then scrapped and re-recorded and included the guitarist having a brain haemorrhage. Overall it does have a half finished feel, just lacking a bit of depth in it's production
The second lp a "Blues for Buddha" released in 1998, keeps the melodic strength of the first lp but adds a more folky , lusher sound and is a bit more epic (the cover made me think of Bunnymen) . Again all the singles were very strong and the band started to pick up quite a bit of radio play. The strongest song for me is "Real McCoy". it is an amazingly catchy song and the whole "Glasgow a Go Go / tenement stone / Cranes like midnight dinosaurs" - and the fact that it is such a feel good song, it still makes me smile when I hear it and so well why wouldn't you want to move to Glasgow?
The Real McCoy - The Silencers
The 3rd lp "Dance to the Holy Man" saw a bit of a change of direction, well more changes of direction as it is a bit of a hotch potch of styles - pop /rock/ funk/ blues/country. Recording saw the rhythm section leave (following a fight in a band 5 aside football match!!?) and new band members join. When this came out I played it to death and it does contain some of their strongest songs but re listening to it, it maybe suffers a bit from its diversity, if not it's ambition. The track I've posted was the lead off single and a song re-recorded from the singer's previous band. As befits their luck it is released just as the gulf war breaks out and is promptly featured on the "do not playlist" for radio 1 (no songs to reference guns)
By this stage the band are massive in France for some reason but still fail to trouble the top 40 over here.