Formed in Liverpool in 1988, the English guitar pop group the Boo Radleys developed a dedicated cult following in the early '90s before crossing over into the mainstream in the middle of the decade. Originally, the Radleys were one of the lesser lights of the loud, noisy My Bloody Valentine-inspired psychedelic trance pop bands labeled "shoegazers" by the British weekly music press. By the mid-'90s the Boo Radleys had developed into a more straightforward pop band who didn't use noise and extended guitar workouts as a way of fleshing out their songs, instead using it as the basis of their music.
The Boo Radleys originally consisted of guitarist/songwriter Martin Carr, vocalist/guitarist Sice, bassist Timothy Brown, and drummer Steve Hewitt. The band released their first album, Ichabod and I, on a local independent record label in 1990; Hewitt was replaced by Rob Cieka after the release of the record. With the support of influential British disc jockey John Peel, the band signed with Rough Trade Records. The group released the EP Every Heaven in 1991; the record made it into the lower regions of the U.K. charts.
Rough Trade folded shortly after the release of Every Heaven, and the Boo Radleys moved to Creation Records, releasing Everything's Alright Forever in 1992. Everything's Alright Forever was released in the U.S. through Creation's association with Columbia Records, but it didn't gain much attention in America. In England, it received favorable reviews and the group began to build a fan base. Topping several Best-of-the-Year lists, including Melody Maker's, 1993's Giant Steps was a critical success in England and sold respectably. In America, the record launched the minor alternative rock hit "Lazarus" and led to second-stage spot on Lollapalooza '94.
Released in England in the spring of 1995, the more pop-oriented Wake Up! was the band's commercial breakthrough, debuting at number one. The bright, horn-driven single "Wake Up Boo" entered in the Top Ten and stayed on the charts until the early summer, preventing the follow-up single, "Find the Answer Within," from charting higher than the Top 30. Wake Up! was released in America in the fall of 1995 with no promotional push from Columbia, who dropped the band early the following year.
The Boo Radleys returned in the fall of 1996 with C'Mon Kids, a self-consciously loud and arty album designed to shake off the band's newfound pop fans. It worked — the album debuted in the Top Ten but it soon fell off the charts, despite overwhelmingly positive reviews. Early in 1997, the band finalized an American contract with Mercury, and C'Mon Kids was released in March, a half a year after its initial British release. Kingsize followed in late 1998, though the group officially broke up just months later. Carr went on to form Brave Captain. In 2005 the Boo Radleys issued Find the Way Out, an extensive two-disc retrospective complete with exhuastive liner notes and memories from the band. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine