While Nichols spent the better part of the year studying in the U.K., drummer Foxy signed on as his replacement; following Nichols' return, the Cannanes booked studio time to record their first proper LP, 1987's The African Man's Tomato, but because it was a beautiful day outside Bleach chose not to attend the sessions, with O'Neil's friend Randall Lee
tapped to handle lead vocal duties instead. Coinciding with the simultaneous release of the singles "Cardboard" and "Weather," the group mounted its first live dates outside of Sydney, briefly disbanding before reuniting (minus Lee
, who went on to form Nice
) to cut 1989's A Love Affair with Nature. Frustrated by their continuing lack of success at home -- despite cult followings in the U.S. and Europe -- the Cannanes then vowed to quit touring, focusing solely on recording; tapes for a planned third album were lost, however, and so the band started Caveat Emptor (recorded with French horn player Nick Kidd) from scratch.
Completed in early 1991 and planned to coincide with the Cannanes' first tour of the U.S., Caveat Emptor did not see official release until mid-1993; by that time bassist Gavin Roy Butler had joined the lineup, appearing on 1994's much-acclaimed Short Poppy Syndrome. Nichols then left the group -- he and his brother Michael
later recorded as Blairmailer
-- and in the wake of his exit the Cannanes went on a nine-month hiatus, during which time Butler
departed as well; O'Neil and Gibson then worked briefly as a duo before recruiting bassist Francesca
and drummer Ivor Moulds to record a 1996 self-titled effort. Arty Barbecue -- a long-in-the-works release actually predating Short Poppy Syndrome -- appeared later that same year, and following a brief American tour, Francesca
left to have a baby; new bassist Andrew Coffey and violinist Sally Cameron signed on soon after.
Trudging into the new millennium, the band released Communicating at an Unknown Rate in fall 2000. The group played on occasion throughout the next decade without releasing too much new music. Shows and tours in Australia, Japan, Mexico, and the U.S. filled much of the time until a resurgence of studio work in 2013, when the band released both the Small Batch EP in March and the Howling at All Hours full-length in July of the same year. The next few years saw the band touring, with new bassist Nick Ketley in tow, working on new music and readying a deluxe reissue of A Love Affair with Nature, which was released by Chapter Music
in late 2016. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi