Murry the Hump
|Also known as||(The) Keys|
|Genres||Indie rock, Urban Folk|
See Monkey Do Monkey
|Past members||Matthew Evans|
The band was formed in Aberystwyth in the late 1990s by singer Matthew Evans, guitarist Gwion Rowlands, bass guitarist Curig Huws, and drummer Bill Coyne, taking their name from the gangster Llewellyn Morris "Murray The Hump" Humphreys.
Early on in the band's career, they competed in a Battle of the Bands contest against Muse. Garnering early interest by way of indie singles "Green Green Grass of Home" (an NME "Single of the Week", and a song about marijuana rather than a cover of the song made famous by Tom Jones) (Blue Dog/V2) and "Thrown Like a Stone" (Shifty Disco) (which was voted number nine in John Peel's Festive Fifty in 1999), they gained support from BBC Radio 1 DJs Steve Lamacq and John Peel, recording three sessions for the Peel, and secured an appearance at industry showcase In The City. A publishing deal from Townhill Music (Sony) swiftly followed, and the band were heralded as the best new band in Wales, and by Alex James of Blur as the best new band in Britain.Alex James, artist Damien Hirst and the late Joe Strummer preferred Murry the Hump over Coldplay when they saw both acts perform at a record label showcase gig. In a 2000 review of the "Silver Suit" single in the NME, the band were described as "The Proper Indie; winsome, charmsome, delicate, funny and toe-tappin' Trebor fizz-pop Fab".
In 2000 the band signed to Too Pure, whereupon they joined new label mates Hefner on a whistle-stop tour of the UK. The band then began work ontheir debut album, Songs of Ignorance, and performed some of the new material for Radio 1's One Live in Cardiff. Curig was replaced by new bassist Siôn Glyn.
The band's first release for Too Pure, "The House That Used to Be a Ship" (a split single with Hefner), was followed by Guardian Guide single of the Week "Cracking Up", gaining much support from Xfm with a John Kennedy Session and live slots for the station at Camden's Barfly.
A second single for the label, "Don't Slip Up" and the debut album Songs of Ignorance followed. The album was described by Andy Gill in The Independent as displaying "a warmth and charm to the group's jangly indie-pop that's entirely engaging", while the NME's April Long said that it revealed "a canny aptitude not only for hook-laden guitar tricks but also story-telling", describing the band as "somewhere between the bucolic surrealism of Super Furry Animals and the cerebral pop of XTC." The Sunday Times selected "Cracking Up" as one of the 'Tracks of the Year' at the end of 2001, describing it as "Joyous, mad, brief. 2001's perfect pop song, from a great Welsh band"; Their review of Songs of Ignorance from May that year also described the track as "so ripe - it has three different choruses - and so joyous, it makes you want to tear your clothes off and run for the hills."
The band announced that they had split up in September 2001, although they played one final concert in October that year as part of the BBC Radio 2 Live in Cardiff festival. Evans stated in 2003 "it stopped being fun and we found we had to promote things and that's when things started getting quite tense." Evans, Rowlands, and Glyn re-remerged in 2002 as The Keys, after asking fans to choose a name for the new band, and were described as "Duane Eddy jamming with the Jesus and Mary Chain". The band released a self-titled debut album in 2003, two EPs in 2009 and their second album as The Keys, Fire Inside, in 2010. A third album, Bitten by Wolves, was released in 2011. The band, now also known simply as Keys, is releasing a new album, Ring the Changes, in late 2013.
- On 26 May 1999 the band supported Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, the Morriston Orpheus Choir and a host of other Welsh acts in front of 25,000 people for the BBC Voices of a Nation concert.
- Blue Dog single (V2) "The Green Green Grass of Home" was a limited edition of 1,000.
- Murry the Hump have supported The Stereophonics, The Levellers, Bonnie Tyler, Shed Seven, Björn Again, Mike Peters, Coloursound, The Crocketts, Cartoon, Topper, Big Leaves, Deacon Blue and others.
- Songs of Ignorance (28 May 2001), Too Pure Records (Pure 116) - CD and LP
- as The Keys
- The Keys (2003), Too Pure
- Fire Inside (2010), See Monkey Do Monkey
- Bitten by Wolves (2011), See Monkey Do Monkey
- Ring the Changes (2014), See Monkey Do Monkey
Singles and EPs
- Don't Slip Up - Demo (not published)
- "Green Green Grass of Home" (1999), Blue Dog Records - 7" vinyl single, split with Gorgeous Fame and the Three Degrees
- "Thrown Like a Stone"/"Don't Slip Up" (27 September 1999), Shifty Disco Records - CD
- Colouring Book EP (November 1999), Malthouse Records - CD
- "Silver Suit"/"Booze and Cigarettes" (May 2000), Prim and Proper Records - 7" vinyl single
- "The House That Used to Be a Ship" (January 2001), Too Pure Records - 7" vinyl single, split with Hefner
- "Cracking Up" (26 March 2001), Too Pure (Pure 114) - CD and 7" vinyl single
- "Don't Slip Up" (21 May 2001), Too Pure (Pure 107) - CD and 7" white vinyl single
- as The Keys
- Le Mans EP (2009), See Monkey Do Monkey
- The Christmas EP (2009), See Monkey Do Monkey
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 882
- "NME Reviews: London Camden Falcon", NME, 8 October 1999
- "Festive 50, 1999", Keeping it Peel, BBC
- "Murry the Hump" Peel Sessions, Keeping it Peel, BBC
- Patterson, Sylvia (2000) "Murry The Hump : Silver Suit/Booze And Cigarettes", NME, 12 February 2000
- Gill, Andy (2001) "Albums: Murry the Hump - Songs of Ignorance, Toor Pure", The Independent, 24 May 2001
- Long, April (2001) "Murry The Hump : Songs of Ignorance", NME, 22 May 2001
- "Tracks of the year; Music", Sunday Times, 16 December 2001
- Cairns, Dan (2001) "MURRY THE HUMP. Songs of Ignorance", Sunday Times, 27 May 2001, p. 22
- Ansell, Rachelle (2001) "Murry The Hump have split", Drowned in Sound, 25 September 2001
- Stokes, Alison (2003) "Friday Live: fun is the key to success", South Wales Echo, 4 July 2003, p. 38
- Walton, Adam (2002) "Exit Murry - but what name next?", Liverpool Daily Post, 18 January 2002, p. 25
- Warfield, Russell (2011) "The Keys Bitten By Wolves", Drowned in Sound, 27 April 2011, retrieved 2011-10-02
- "Google Groups". groups.google.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- Services, Eazyweb Internet. "TV, film and Radio appearances of the Morriston Orpheus Choir :: Morriston Orpheus Choir". www.morristonorpheus.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- "BBC Wales - Music - Murry The Hump - Biography". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2017.