began creating lush indie pop with orchestral flourishes and romantic lyrics. They went on to release a number of singles, one of which included contributions from
. Three years after the band's first releases,
also climbed aboard not long afterward, defining the band as a six-piece.
received an influential endorsement from John Peel
in 2001, when the British DJ deemed them one of the most promising bands of the year. Their first full-length album, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi
, was released the following year through the AndMoreSound Records catalog, with production help from Belle & Sebastian
's Stuart Murdoch
. Trumpeter and percussionist Nigel Baile
joined the band soon afterward, swelling their ranks to seven. The group's next effort, the luminescent Underachievers Please Try Harder
, was released by Spanish label Elefant in 2003; an American release followed in 2004 by the stalwart label Merge, which also reissued Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi
. For the band's third Peel
session in early 2004, they were asked to put music to the words of Scottish poet Robert Burns
, a task they enjoyed so much they ended up recording studio versions of two of the songs: "I Love My Jean" and "Red, Red Rose."
After touring the world and reaping critical success, the band returned to Scotland and suffered two losses: first, the death of Peel
, one of their biggest supporters; second, the defection of John Henderson
. The band released the I Love My Jean
single as a tribute to the late Peel
in early 2005 and decamped as a six-piece to Sweden to record with noted producer Jari Haapalainen
. The resulting album, Let's Get Out of This Country
, was released in June of 2006 on Merge and Elefant. A series of singles and EPs followed, culminating in the release of 2009's full-length My Maudlin Career
. The band began work writing a follow up in 2010, but illness and personal issues put the process on indefinite hold for a time. In 2012 they traveled to Portland, Oregon to work with producer Tucker Martine on what would become 2013's Desire Lines, the group's fifth and most confident record to date.