Instead, the Auckland four-piece purveyed a more wistful, bittersweet sound – and weren’t afraid to augment their guitar, bass and drums with piano, cello and accordion.
Their beginnings lay in a meeting between Murray Couling and Darren McShane who were working at the same pharmaceutical company. Couling, who had been in Dick Driver’s Hip Singles (and released a one-off single for CBS in 1983 with 'You’re a Movie') was the guitarist, lead singer and main songwriter. Bass player McShane and his drummer brother Ricky formed a fraternal rhythm section and Debbie Silvey provided guitar and backing vocals.
Their second cassette, the eight-song Facing Up, was released by Still Ill Tapes in 1989 and yielded a student radio hit in ‘These Walls’ which was included on Pagan’s Positive Vibrations.
Flying Nun signed them in late 1990 and released a single and their only album Periphery – a reserved, carefully crafted offering, with occasionally noisy guitars, which showcased Couling’s often dark, introspective lyrics.
Periphery was their last despatch. Debbie Silvey went on to Garageland, Ricky McShane played with Greg Fleming’s Trains, White Swan Black Swan and The Broken Heartbreakers, and Darren McShane established his own analogue studio Earwig and founded indie poppers Superturtle.
Chainsaw Masochist covered Engelbert Humperdinck’s MOR hit The Last Waltz on their Periphery album because they already had their own song about “two lonely people”.
Murray Couling - guitar, vocals
Debbie Silvey - guitar, backing vocals
Darren McShane - bass
Ricky McShane - drums