Formed in Yeovil, England in 1988, the noisy Family Cat comprised vocalist Paul Frederick, guitarists Stephen Jelbert and Tim McVay, bassist John Graves and drummer Kevin Downing. After making their London debut the following April, the group was promptly signed to the fledgling Bad Girl label, soon issuing their debut single "Tom Verlaine" to widespread acclaim. With ex-Jam member Rick Buckler handling production chores, the Family Cat recorded their first mini-LP, Tell 'Em We're Surfin', in 1989; the follow-up, "Remember What It Is That You Love," was also a major hit on the indie charts.
After releasing "A Place With a Name" at the end of 1990, the Family Cat jumped to the Dedicated label, and spent the whole of 1991 on tour and in the studio. Finally, in 1992 the Steamroller single appeared to favorable reviews, but little chart interest; a similar fate met the subsequent "Colour Me Grey" and "River of Diamonds," both of which featured backing vocals from Polly Jean Harvey. After 1992's Furthest From the Sun LP, the Family Cat fell silent for close to a year, resurfacing in August 1993 with "Airplane Gardens." Another lengthy tour followed before the release of 1994's Magic Happens; although both "Wonderful Excuse" and "Goldenbook" narrowly missed the U.K. Top 40, the band, having grown frustrated by its lack of success, separated soon after the record's release. ~ Jason Ankeny