This resolute and sombre Glasgow University, Scotland-formed indie rock quintet caused a minor ripple in 2006 when a reissue of bittersweet single â€˜The Hit Paradeâ€™ received modest airplay on national radio stations throughout Europe. Comprising Rick Webster (b. 1 December 1979, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England; guitar/vocals), Stuart Cartwright (b. 14 March 1980, Stirling, Scotland; guitar, banjo, mandolin), Geoff Widdowson (b. 15 October 1979, Margate, Kent, England; piano/organ/synthesiser), Ron Yeadon (b. Robert Yeadon, 23 April 1981, Darlington, County Durham, England; drums/percussion), and Tad MacDonald (b. 19 March 1986, London, England; bass), the band was taken under the wing of ex-James violinist Saul Davies who co-produced much of the material on their 2006 debut Sugar & Spite. Webster and Widdowson met in Tchai Ovna, a student-frequented Glasgow tearoom that also played a part in the formative years of Belle And Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand. Whereas their early collaborative efforts at songwriting were largely folk orientated, it was Daviesâ€™ feedback that inspired Unkle Bob to aim for a radio-friendly full band sound. The fledgling Friendly Sounds label that the album appeared on was set up by Davies in conjunction with Pinnacle Distribution. Recalling a less sophisticated take on the modern chamber-pop of the Pernice Brothers, Sugar & Spite also nodded towards The Bends -era Radiohead on â€˜Better Offâ€™ and folk-influenced Irish singer-songwriter David Kitt on â€˜This Wayâ€™ and â€˜Too Many Peopleâ€™. Cartwrightâ€™s tasteful use of the banjo brought to life the opening track â€˜Birds And The Beesâ€™, while Webster displayed his occasionally astute lyrical talent on â€˜Too Many Peopleâ€™ with the line â€˜Iâ€™ve got a working broken heartâ€™. A headline spot at London, Englandâ€™s Tate Modern art gallery as part of a Liveartspace day was a promotional boon in the run up to the album release, and the subsequent tour with Cosmic Rough Riders won the band many more fans.Portions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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