Space are a British band from Liverpool, who formed in 1993 initially as a trio of Tommy Scott (vocals, bass, guitar), Jamie Murphy (vocals, guitar) and Andy Parle (drums). Keyboard player Franny Griffiths joined the line-up a year later, and the band came to prominence throughout the mid-1990s with hit singles such as "Female of the Species", "Me and You Versus the World", "Neighbourhood", "Avenging Angels" and "The Ballad of Tom Jones", the latter a duet with Cerys Matthews of Catatonia.
The band recorded four studio albums, one of which was cancelled before it was released, plus a number of charting singles before eventually disbanding in 2005. In 2011, two years after the death of Parle, the band announced they would reunite with Scott and Griffiths returning alongside two new members, crowd-funding their first album in a decade, Attack of the Mutant 50ft Kebab, in 2014. A follow-up, Give Me Your Future, was released at the end of 2017.
The melodic core of Space's sound was inspired by 1960s guitar groups such as The Kinks and The Who, which got them labelled as part of the Britpop movement, which the band quickly disregarded. However, their imaginative, pioneering usage of electronic instruments and sampling drew influences as diverse as post-punk, ska, techno, hip hop, lounge music, easy listening and vintage film soundtracks. Each member of the group had wildly different tastes in music, which they often brought to the fore of their work. The band also became known for their deliberately tongue-in-cheek, dark humoured lyrics, which frequently dealt with topics such as serial killers, failed relationships, social outcasts, and mental illness.
Tommy Scott (then bass player), Jamie Murphy, and Andy Parle formed Space in 1993 and aimed for a Who-influenced sound, releasing a 12-inch single entitled "Is It Real". After Franny Griffiths, an old friend and former member of Scott's earlier group Hello Sunset, was brought in to join them on keyboards and electronics a year later, establishing their trademark style. The band secured a recording contract with Gut Records who released their first single, "Money" in 1995. The single "Neighbourhood"' followed in 1996 but it was not until the release of their next single, "Female of the Species", that they achieved popular acclaim. This song was also the theme song to the UK television series Cold Feet.
Their debut album Spiders, released in September 1996, enjoyed success and went platinum in the UK. "Female of the Species" also gained moderate airplay on college radio and MTV in the United States, and was widely seen and heard in Australia on the nationally broadcast ABC-TV music video show rage and on the ABC national rock station Triple-J. The line-up increased with the addition of bassist/multi-instrumentalist Yorkie - who started working with the band years before their success with Spiders - in late 1996, so that Scott could concentrate more on vocals and guitar.
A tour of the US followed in mid-1997 which was less successful than many had hoped, with stories of homesickness and in Murphy's case a severe nervous breakdown, as well as Scott losing his voice for two months. The death of Yorkie's mother Gladys Palmer, a local Liverpool singer, devastated the band, and Parle left the group straight after the band completed work on their second album. Caffrey was quickly chosen to take over from Parle.
The new record, entitled Tin Planet, was a more mature, focused release than Spiders and was issued in spring 1998, hitting number three in the UK Albums Chart. Like its predecessor, it became a success, but it did upset some fans due to its more softer, pop-friendly songs and the lack of the much more aggressive tracks found on Spiders. In late 1998, for a Honda advertisement, Space recorded a version of The Animals' "We Gotta Get out of This Place", which was featured on The Bad Days EP. The band also recorded a track together with singer Tom Jones for his album Reload, released in 1999.
In 2001, Space parted ways with Gut following certain issues with the label, including the constant postponing of their third album Love You More than Football. Murphy departed from the band the same year, leading to the band retreating from the public eye and release their music to their fans via their website. These recordings were known as Music for Aliens.
After a three-year break from public attention, Space returned in 2004 to release Suburban Rock 'n' Roll, their first proper release of new material since Tin Planet. It failed to earn critical and commercial recognition. The lukewarm reception of the releases and the problems with getting a recording contract, made it financially impossible to carry on. In 2005, Space announced their decision to go their separate ways.
Since the band's original break-up, most of the former members have continued to play in bands and music industry: Scott, along with Phil Hartley, a former live technician for the group, formed a punk band called the Drellas, which in its final incarnation included Allan Jones on drums and Ryan Clarke on vintage keys. Hartley, who plays bass, also produces for the band, along with other Antipop Records acts such as Metro Manila Aide, The Dead Class, The Temps and Fraktures. Franny Griffiths was with Murphy and Vinnie Camilleri (who played guitar for The Beatles Pre- Ringo drummer Pete Best) with their band Dust, and also making R&B under the name Subway Showdown, while Yorkie is producing for Shack. Franny also co-writes & produces with Vinnie Camilleri for Spaceman V Man.
Andy Parle died on 1 August 2009, aged 42, in Liverpool. Police said they were treating Parle's death as "unexplained" after he was seen to fall while crossing the road. Eyewitnesses described Parle tripping and falling after trying to run across a road in Liverpool at around 11.30pm on Saturday. They said he had been inside the Park Road Fish Bar in Dingle. Some locals ran to his aid and tried to revive him. A taxi full of passengers also stopped to help and paramedics were called, however he died later at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Dave Palmer, his former bandmate, said: "It's the saddest, most tragic end you could have." He added that Parle had been "a brilliant drummer".
In November 2011 Space announced they would reunite for a gig at Christmas to be held at the O2 Academy in their home town of Liverpool. The line-up reunites original members Scott, Murphy and Griffiths as well as some new faces, who have previously played in Scott's current band The Red Scare (formerly known as the Drellas). They also announced the release of a new album, entitled Attack of the Mutant 50ft Kebab, and a world tour in 2012. After two years in the making (which were disrupted by Murphy's second departure), the album was eventually released in March 2014, preceded by the lead single "Fortune Teller". In July, keyboardist Ryan Clarke left the group to focus on other projects. As part of their 20th Anniversary, Space announced a tour throughout March 2014 alongside Republica.
In November 2015, Space released the single "Strange World" as a stopgap between albums. In 2016, the band announced that they were working on a new album entitled Give Me Your Future, recorded with Steve Levine, famed for his work with Culture Club. Early copies of the album were sold at Space's homecoming gig at The Arts Club on December 22, 2017, with widespread distribution due in the new year.