11 Songs, 37 Minutes

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About Monkey Swallows The Universe

Formed in 2004 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England by Natalie Johnson (b. 14 August 1980, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England; vocals/guitar) and Kevin Gori (b. 22 February 1982, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England; guitar), who met at the University of Sheffield. The duo was soon joined by Andrew George (b. 6 December 1976, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England; cello), Catherine Tully (b. 13 April 1982, Solihull, West Midlands, England; violin), and Robert Dean (b. 2 May 1983, East Grinstead, West Sussex, England; drums). Their 2006 debut, The Bright Carvings, was a limited release on small Sheffield-based label Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation. The music was primarily simplistic, upbeat acoustic indie, led by Johnson’s note-perfect vocals and Gori’s accomplished guitar picking, drawing comparisons to Belle And Sebastian and Camera Obscura.

The follow-up, The Casket Letters, received a full UK release on Loose Music in August 2007. It failed to breakthrough commercially, but was well received, and although it was largely similar to their debut, Johnson’s songwriting had obviously progressed. The catchy single, ‘Little Polveir’, echoed their familiar sound, whereas songs like ‘Elizabeth & Mary’ displayed a more full, rock-based sound that suggested strong influence from artists such as PJ Harvey. At the end of 2007 the band announced through their website that they would be taking an indefinite break following their January tour.

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