Hartlepool sits on the chilly north east coast of England, bitter winds flow down from Scandinavia, penetrating your bones and hardening your flesh. It was here in 1996 that Sneaker Pimps were formed by Liam Howe and Chris Cornor, soon recruiting vocalist Kelli Dayton. In 1996 they released 6 Underground from the nineties Trip Hop/Indietronica classic, Becoming X. Unfortunately the cold winds blew so hard that by the time they released their second album Splinter in 1999, Kelli Dayton had been removed from the line-up with the vocals taken over by Cornor. Drastic as it sounds the band continued rather effortlessly, evolved and made one more album, Bloodsport in 2002.
6 Underground reached No.15 in the UK charts and was followed by another semi-successful single Spin Spin Sugar (No.21). A rerelease of 6 Underground made No.9 and then their final brush with Top 20, Post Modern Sleaze made it to No.22. Although Splinter was a good album that took the band into another interesting direction, the single Low Five just scraped into the Top 40 at No.39.
After Sneaker Pimps Cornor formed a new band, IAMX in 2003 incorporating visuals and performance art into the project – they have since released six albums, the last, Metanoia in 2015. Kelli Dayton became Kelli Ali and has released seven solo albums. Liam Howe became a producer/writer working with Lana Del Rey, FKA Twigs, Ellie Goulding, Sophie Ellis-Bexter and many more.
Although each band member has carved out their own fascinating futures, that moment in 1996 when 6 Underground oozed out of the speakers, has to be recorded as a special musical event. Something about the song, the sound of the voice, the cryptic lyric and title, those low key sounds and the perfect tempo, the dynamics of the programming and the production – it all gelled in one irresistible sleazy beckoning.