This Manchester, England guitar band comprised Paul Bardsley (vocals), Phil Murphy (guitar), Aky (b. Graham Atkinson; bass) and Andy Pickering (drums), who came together after reading advertisements in Loot magazine. However, Molly Half Head have more unusual origins than the average indie band. An early incarnation of the group was reportedly an experimental coalition with a trombone player competing against a wall of noise and feedback. The band claim that said trombonist eventually went mad. Veterans of that incarnation, Pickering and Murphy had recruited Atkinson and Bardsley by the time the group signed to Manchester independent Playtime Records in 1992. After an encouraging reception at the 1993 In The City festival/conference, the band released their debut single, ‘Taste Of You’. Bearing in mind their own financial struggles, this was made available to the unemployed for 75 pence, and they also played a series of free-to-enter gigs. Despite this, they were hardly the decade’s most political band (‘There’s no great insights into life we’re trying to convey’). A second single, ‘Toe To Sand’, preceded sessions for their debut album. The UK indie press quickly warmed to the band, whose offbeat attitude was confirmed by a series of semi-nude photos, and a resistance to any degree of preciousness. ‘Barny’, included on the debut, managed to gain daytime UK radio play on the Steve Wright Show, and featured an impressive collage of characters drawn from the band’s home estate. Dunce saw the band move to Columbia Records, and though press interest had worn a little thin (particularly with the passing of the ‘Madchester’ phenomenon, where all bands from the Manchester area were briefly deemed newsworthy), it was another energetic collection of pop songs that rewarded repeated listening.
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