This Glaswegian semi-acoustic rock band emerged in the wake of the Postcard Records scene, when they were formed by 16-year-old singer, pianist and bass player Justin Currie and his guitarist friend Iain Harvie. They were joined for 'Sense Sickness', their 1983 debut on the No Strings independent label, by Bryan Tolland (guitar) and Paul Tyagi (drums). Numerous sessions for disc jockey John Peel and tours with everyone from the Fall to the Smiths ensured a cult following and a growing reputation for Currie's wry lyrics. They came to the attention of Chrysalis Records who signed them to their own 'indie' label, Big Star. Del Amitri released their debut album in 1985 but fell foul of the label shortly afterwards. The band's career entered a restorative period during which they toured via a network of fans who organized and promoted events in individual regions. A tour of the USA led to Del Amitri being signed to A&M Records in 1987 and resuming their recording career, with Andy Alston (keyboards) and Mick Slaven joining Currie, Harvie and Tyagi in the line-up. They hit the UK singles chart with 'Kiss This Thing Goodbye', 'Nothing Ever Happens' (from 1989's Waking Hours), and 'Spit In The Rain'. The reissue of 'Kiss This Thing Goodbye' helped to break them in the USA, while domestically the plaintive protest ballad 'Nothing Ever Happens' won many supporters: 'And computer terminals report some gains, On the values of copper and tin, While American businessmen snap up Van Goghs, For the price of a hospital wing'.
Though their singles success abated somewhat, this was tempered by the platinum success of 1992's Change Everything, which featured new members Brian McDermott (drums) and David Cummings (guitar). Touring continued throughout that year while most of 1993 was spent at Haremere House in East Sussex, working on their fourth album. Twisted was produced by Al Clay (Frank Black, Pere Ubu) and featured new drummer Chris Sharrock. The album further refined the band's familiar AOR formula, with the lyrics almost exclusively dealing in loneliness and the establishment and breakdown of relationships. Of their transition from indie wordsmiths to stadium rockers, Currie philosophically preferred to think that 'Del Amitri fans only hold ironic lighters aloft'.
There were enough ironic electric 12-string soundalikes on the energetic and excellent 1997 album Some Other Sucker's Parade (if you love the Byrds and Crazy Horse you will appreciate Del Amitri.) The album saw the mainstays Currie, Harvie and Alston joined by Ashley Soan (drums) and Jon McLoughlin (guitar). The following year the band provided the Scottish soccer team with the typically wry 'Don't Come Home Too Soon' for their official World Cup song. It struggled to reach number 15 in June 1998. The downbeat Can You Do Me Good" featured the sublime single 'Just Before You Leave' and a number of other soul-influenced tracks. Kris Dollimore (guitar) and Mark Price (drums) joined Currie, Harvie and Alston for the sessions. The album was Del Amitri's final recording for A&M/Mercury.
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