The roots of Backwater lie as far back as 1990, when Barry Peak (b. 7 June 1974, Belfast, Northern Ireland; guitar/vocals) and Boyd Lowe (b. 1974, Belfast, Northern Ireland; guitar/vocals), began playing punk rock with a now-forgotten rhythm section. After several years they settled down with Ryan McAuley (b. 4 October 1972, Belfast, Northern Ireland; bass) and Richard Bassett (drums). They began to get media attention at about the same time as Ash and lazy hacks tended to lump them together as some sort of ‘Ulsterpunk’ phenomenon. Backwater, however, lacked their contemporaries’ glam pop sensibilities, relying instead upon the contrast between the songwriters’ respective styles: Peak’s hazy, stream-of-consciousness tableaux, where lyrics followed the music; and Lowe’s splenetic Fall -esque noise, written the other way round. The band’s first two singles, Lowe’s ‘Didactic No’ and Peak’s ‘Supercool’, achieved airplay from John Peel and Mark Radcliffe; support slots with the likes of Urusei Yatsura, Sebadoh and, bizarrely, Def Leppard followed. In 1995 they recorded their debut album for Ché Records but it was not released until over a year later, by which time Bassett, sick of touring, had been replaced by Shaun Robinson (b. 8 April 1974, Belfast, Northern Ireland). More significantly, shortly after Angels Are Cool saw the light of day, Lowe left the band, returning to his first love, painting. Backwater continued as a trio for a short time before calling it a day. Peak, McAuley and Robinson later worked together in Torgas Valley Reds.
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