The New Zealand industrial unit the Skeptics emerged in 1979 from the ashes of the Palmerston North-based unit X-IT; comprised of vocalist David D'Ath, guitarist Robin Gauld, bassist Nick Roughan, and drummer Don White, the group did not make their recorded debut until three years later, issuing the track "Last Orders" on the Furtive Records compilation Three Piece Pack. In 1983, the Skeptics signed to Flying Nun to release the EP Chowder Over Wisconsin; that same year they opened their own club, named Snailclamps. The cassette-only Skeptics Said was released in 1984, and finally, in 1985, they issued a proper LP in the form of Ponds. Gauld soon exited and was replaced by Bailter Space guitarist John Halvorsen; Skeptics III appeared in 1988, but while the group was in the studio working on the follow-up, D'Ath was diagnosed was leukemia. Extensive treatments followed, but he died on September 4, 1990; the completed album, Amalgam, appeared just two months later. Although the Skeptics immediately ceased to exist in the wake of D'Ath's death, the previously unreleased single "Sensible Shoes" was issued in 1991; a 1992 box set also included a new live EP, If I Will I Can. Surviving founding members Roughan, White, and Gauld later reunited in the short-lived Hub.
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