This dark, neo-psychedelic band using the sub-title Electric Mainline, was formed by Jason Pierce (vocals, guitar) after his break-up from former writing partner and Spacemen 3 cohorts Pete 'Sonic Boom' Kember and Mark Retoy (guitar). Based in Rugby, Midlands, they were actually inaugurated while Spacemen 3 were still officially active. Pierce took the remnants of that band with him (Will Carruthers - bass and Jon Mattock - drums) and added his girlfriend Kate Radley (organ) . Their first release was a cover version of theTroggs' 'Anyway That You Want Me', then 'Feel So Sad', a sonic opera lasting 13 minutes and 20 seconds.
Headliners at ICA's 'Irn Bru' Rock week, their familiar Velvet Undergroundguitar noise/dream pop found favour with old Spacemen 3 fans as well as new converts, and their debut album was widely regarded as one of the best of 1992. Singles such as 'Why Don't You Smile', however, were something of a departure from Pierce's morbid and moribund legacy. A mail-order live album arrived in 1993, after which sessions began on a second album proper. In the meantime Pierce discovered an affinity with some of the 90s ambient house artists, working on remixes forLFO, Global Communications and others. Pure Phasefinally arrived in 1995 to the usual critical fanfare, going some way to accommodating its protagonist's assertion that he wanted to make 'a record so beautiful it brings a tear to your eye'. The best example of this approach to creating elegiac pop was 'All Of My Tears', with strings provided by theBalanescu Quartet. The line-up in late 1997 featured Tim Jeffries (keyboards), Damon Reece (drums) and Ray Dickaty (s
The aptly titled Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space was Pierce's finest distillation yet of his wide range of styles, an ambitious sonic experiment that even found room for the piano work of Dr John on the epic closing track 'Cop Shoot Cop'. The album was crammed full of influences, and all sound refreshing rather than plagiaristic. From the Smiley Smile period Beach Boyson the title track to Primal Screamon 'Come Together'. Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space was one of the indie highlights of 1997, and one of the most original and cleverly designed album sleeves in recent years.
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