Originally known as Witch Hazel, the Witch Hazel Sound mix a clear devotion to the Beach Boys' 1965-1971 art pop period with a more contemporary fondness for the post-psychedelic atmospherics of the shoegazers. Formed in Kent, OH, in 1992, the group coalesced around the core of singer Mark F., guitarist and keyboardist Kevin Coral, and bassist Mike Split, who would bring in additional musicians as songs required. Their first release was the two-song "Just Don't Try" single, released on the local Bubblegum Smile label in 1993. A split single with another northern Ohio band, the Mommyheads, followed in 1994; Witch Hazel's contribution was called "Cough Syrup." The group released a third 7", the Beeswax EP, in early 1995 before signing with Flydaddy Records to finally record their debut album, Landlocked, later that year.
Witch Hazel then disappeared for close to three years. When they returned in 1998, both their name and their lineup were expanded. Trumpeter Jason Richardson became a full-time member of the band, which was now known as the Witch Hazel Sound. Released on the Australian neo-psych label Camera Obscura, the lengthy EP, It's All True, also introduced a subtle folk-rock influence into the band's sound, akin to Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs, which came out around the same time. The band spent three years recording the follow-up, This World, Then the Fireworks..., which was finally released in November 2001 on Hidden Agenda Records.