When they first started, it was just the three of them: John, Beth and a drum machine (the drum machine almost human in its veracity). When you start a story with "When," you naturally need a "Where," and the where, in this case, was Palm Desert, California, known more for golf and swimming pools than the sort of music Aberdeen defined themselves by. So, like all good suburban kids, the two packed up their drum machine and headed northwest, lured not by the prospect of making it in the big city, but rather for the simple pleasure of being able to see their favorite bands play live. Living in a B city is one thing; living in a city that never saw the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain was another.
For fun they demo'd down some songs, screwed up their courage and booked a show. If you're lucky, you were there. So what that there was gunfire just down the street; so what that John never turned around to face the audience and so what that Beth, in a charming little short dress, didn't mind a bit that everyone sitting on the floor could see her knickers. Listeners expected nothing and got everything. How do you describe music that grabs you so tightly you forget to breathe?
Within seconds, it seems (though it was actually a few months), they stumbled into a brief, yet enviable, deal with Sarah Records. Sarah was a true independent in the days when there were still independent labels, and being based in England gave Aberdeen releases that sort of credibility that comes along with having an "import" sticker on your disc. There was no money to be had; the lure was simply to be Sarah 093 and Sarah 097. After all, there's no harm in being musically classified when you fully embrace that classification. The records were delicate, a tad timid, but somehow managed to transcend the plastic and paper that comprised them. Who says it better than the music rags, so we'll defer to them for some description: "Aberdeen are just too delightful!" wrote one reviewer. Another was a tad more poetic: "Eternal smiles come every time you drop the needle." The two EPs were a promise, a hint, a glimpse of what was to come if Beth and John would only embrace a healthy bit of hubris and launch a campaign of self-promotion (they were, after all, charmingly humble about their music.)
If I may pause here for a moment to offer a word of advice: don't join a band with a couple in it. And don't ever think that a band with a couple in it will survive very long. Need I say more? Flash forward then five years (we'll spare you the nastiness that went on in the interim). LA's not so big when you're trying to avoid someone and Beth and John crossed each other's paths many times, each crossing reminding them that there were still songs between them. Time heals most wounds (thank god), and in the Spring of 2000 they were ready to give it another go.
Enter some cheerleaders-cum-musicians-cum friends that became necessary when John saw he had the potential to fill 24 tracks. The drum machine was resigned to a closet in favor of a human and with the added bit of dynamics and volume, the songs came to life, more mature than before but still delightful.
Homesick and Happy To Be Here took over a year to complete during which time Beth departed for England where she soon landed a singing gig with the Trembling Blue Stars. She still, however, remains loyal to her roots. The record is what happens when you have stories to tell that keep you awake at night until they're put to tape. Music, after all, is simply storytelling: a fuller package than words on paper can ever aspire to be. We'll toss around some influences to give you a point of reference: New Order, Jesus and Mary Chain, House of Love, Low, Belle and Sebastian. Of course listing influences will only get you so far and employing language to describe music is simply inadequate, at least for music that's able to reach beyond language.