Australian-born singer-songwriter Richard Davies formed the chamber-pop unit the Moles in Sydney in the late 1980s after growing disenchanted with studying law; concluding that he preferred composing poetry to writing essays for his class assignments, he soon began crafting his first songs. After finding some underground success in their native land as well as the U.S. and Britain, the Moles broke up around the beginning of 1993; Davies soon settled in New York City to begin a solo career, although in 1994 he released his solo debut, Instinct, under the Moles name. Through a mutual friendship with Sebadoh drummer Bob Fay, Davies joined forces with multi-instrumentalist and arranger Eric Matthews to form the duo Cardinal, which released their lush, symphonic self-titled debut to great acclaim in 1994. However, internal strife prompted the group to split soon after, and Davies began his solo career in earnest with 1996's baroque There's Never Been a Crowd Like This; on tour, he was backed by avowed fans the Flaming Lips. The superb Telegraph followed in 1998, and in 2000 Davies signed to the Kindercore label to issue his third solo LP, Barbarians. ~ Jason Ankeny
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