The most traditional pop band of all the Welsh bands to emerge in the post-Brit-pop days of the mid-'90s, Catatonia reworked the sound of jangling late-'80s alternative rock with a punchy, amateurish indie rock attack. Comprised of vocalist Cerys Matthews, guitarist/vocalist Mark Roberts, guitarist Owen, bassist Paul Jones, and drummer Aled Richards, Catatonia formed in Cardiff, Wales in the early '90s. Matthews and Roberts used to busk together in Cardiff before officially forming the band.
Catatonia released their first EP, For Tinkerbell, in 1993. At the time, the band featured Matthews, Roberts, Jones, drummer Dafydd Ieuan, and keyboardist C. Pegg. The same lineup recorded Hooked, which was released the following year. After the release of Hooked, both Pegg and Ieuan left the band; Dafydd went on to join Super Furry Animals. Replacing Ieuan with Aled Richards, the group released "Sweet Catatonia" in late 1995 and then added in Owen as a second guitarist. Early in 1996, "You've Got a Lot to Answer For" became the band's first charting single, appearing at number 35 on the British charts. A full-length album, Way Beyond Blue, followed in September, and it was greeted with positive reviews, peaking at number 40 on the charts. Catatonia returned in 1998 with their second album, International Velvet, a British smash that hit the top of the charts and stayed there for several weeks thanks to the hit singles "I Am the Mob" and "Mulder and Scully." Equally Cursed & Blessed followed in the spring of 2000.
The band's next album, Paper Scissors Stone, followed in summer 2001 and the single "Stone by Stone" wasn't terribly successful. In September, frontwoman Cerys Matthews announced her departure from Catatonia. She had bouts with exhaustion and anxiety in recent months and a well-deserved break was in order. The remaining members of the band continued their career, but not under the Catatonia name. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine