Heavenly was a 1990s twee pop band, originally forming in Oxford, England in 1989. Amelia Fletcher (vocals/guitar), Mathew Fletcher (drums; Amelia's brother), Peter Momtchiloff (guitar) and Robert Pursey (bass) had all been members of Talulah Gosh, a key member of the C86 scene which preceded the twee movement, formed in 1986.
From C86 to Twee
Heavenly debuted with the 7" single "I Fell in Love Last Night", followed by another 7", "Our Love Is Heavenly", both released in 1990 on Sarah Records. Heavenly vs. Satan, the group's debut album, came out in 1991. At this stage in their career, Heavenly's songs were still mainly concerned with an innocent view of love, whether or not requited, and the instrumentation remained very much the same jangly guitar style used by Talulah Gosh.
Before releasing the critically acclaimed Le Jardin de Heavenly, Cathy Rogers (keyboard, back-up vocals) joined the band. Her harmony vocals and keyboards became an integral part of the group's sound. Another strikingly different element of the group's second album was the inclusion of the track, "C is the Heavenly Option," featuring the guest vocals of K Records founder Calvin Johnson, who released Heavenly's records in the USA. Johnson would go on to provide additional guest vocals on each of the Heavenly albums following Le Jardin de Heavenly.
Before their next long-player, Heavenly released two non-album 7" singles, "P.U.N.K. Girl" and "Atta Girl." These signalled a growing complexity in Amelia's songwriting, particularly "Atta Girl," in which Amelia and Cathy sung in rapid-fire trade-off vocals. A broadening (and darkening) of lyrical subject matter was shown in the B-side, "Hearts and Crosses," which told the story of a date rape, with a cheesy keyboard riff providing an hipster counterpoint.
The End of Heavenly / Britpop / New Bands
The band's third LP was The Decline and Fall of Heavenly (1994). Here the group were at their most commercial and at their most attuned with the growing Britpop movement. The arrangements expanded even more to include strings and a large amount of percussion, and the dual-vocal trick was used on several tracks. Lyrically, the old romantic view of love was largely banished, with tracks such as "Modestic" and "Three Star Compartment" portraying people trapped in loveless relationships and "Sperm Meets Egg, So What?" (the title adapted from McCarthy's "Boy Meets Girl, So What?") being about an unwanted pregnancy. The tunes remained as jolly as ever.
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