Ella Guru emerged from the fertile Liverpool, England-based music scene in the early years of the new millennium. Unlike other Liverpool bands such as the Coral and the Zutons, they eschewed psychedelic rock in favour of a delicate take on the type of lo-fi Americana performed by Low and Kurt Wagner’s Lambchop. The band’s one nod to the ‘Cosmic Scouse’ movement that spawned the Coral and the Zutons was naming themselves after a song from Captain Beefheart’s legendary Trout Mask Replica.
Singer and guitarist John Yates formed Ella Guru in 2002 with the intention of creating something different from the standard three- and four-piece set-ups. To this end, the band eventually swelled to include eight members with Yates joined by Kate Walsh (vocals), Christian Burwood (guitar), Nik Kavanagh (bass), Bren Moore (drums), Nick Kellington (ukulele/cornet), and Bob Pickin. The hushed ambience of their music meant the band was frequently to be found asking audience members to keep the noise down at live shows. Ella Guru made their recording debut in 2003 with the 3 Songs From Liverpool EP, which opened with the spellbinding ‘On A Beach’. The band’s album debut The First Album, followed in August 2004. Former Mothers Of Invention member Jimmy Carl Black contributed guest vocals to the last three tracks, including an unlisted version of ‘On A Beach’.