A quintet comprising Duncan Maitland (guitar), Aidan Parse (drums), Dave Browne (vocals), Aonghus Ralston (bass) and Geoff Woods (keyboards), Picture House were formed in Dublin, Eire, in the late 80s. They signed to London Records while the members were all still teenagers, but their debut album was abandoned as the label’s interest in them waned. ‘They’re so dance-orientated, ’ Browne later told the press, ‘that I think they just didn’t know what to do with us.’ The experience was disillusioning, but the group nevertheless decided to stay together, relocating their operation back to a house in the hills above Dublin. However, they decided to abandon their original style, reverting instead to acoustic musicianship and the employment of multi-part vocal harmonies. Rather than approach another major label, the group decided to release the results on their own independent label, Wacca Wacca Records. Given a boost by regular exposure on Dublin radio, the Probably EP sold enough copies to require two subsequent re-pressings. It also alerted the Saw Doctors to the existence of the group, and they were invited to support them on their 1996 tour. Strong reviews led to the European label Koch Records offering them a distribution agreement for Wacca Wacca. The group’s resulting debut album ‘proper’ was Shine Box, released in 1996, with its contents premiered via support slots for Bon Jovi, Big Country and Runrig. The critical reaction was favourable, the group being widely praised as a literate, intelligent acoustic pop group in the tradition of Crowded House.
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