Comprising Avy (b. Preston, Lancashire, England; vocals, guitar), Alan Stirner (guitar), Adrian Oxaal (b. USA; guitar, occasional cello) and Jessica Fischer (b. USA; bass, occasional cello), Sharkboy were formed in Brighton, Sussex, England, in the early 90s. However, each member’s origins are entirely different - both Fischer and Oxaal were born in America, while Avy originates from the north of England. Immediately Avy’s ambitions and reference points set the group apart from its more austere, self-absorbed contemporaries - as an example of this, their b-sides have included cover versions of material by Serge Gainsbourg (‘Je T’Aime... Moi Non Plus’), Gene Clark (‘Some Misunderstanding’), Shirley Bassey (‘Diamonds Are Forever’) and Candi Staton (‘Wishing On A Star’). The group made its debut in 1994 with Matinee, producing an album where Avy’s songwriting attracted favourable press on tracks such as ‘Road’ and the singles ‘Razor’ and ‘Crystaline’. Her trademark lyrical romanticism continued on 1996’s The Valentine Tapes, though critics were generally less charitable in their reception of this album.