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File:Space 6596.jpg

For tropes about outer space, see Tropes IN SPACE.

Space were an indie / post Britpop band from Liverpool who had some success in the mid-to-late nineties. Their most famous singles were 'Female Of The Species' - featured on several film soundtracks, and an Impulse advert - 'Neighbourhood', 'Avenging Angels', and 'The Ballad Of Tom Jones', a duet with Catatonia frontwoman Cerys Matthews.

The band started off as a trio consisting of Tommy Scott, Jamie Murphy and Andy Parle in 1993, with Franny Griffiths, who had previously played in bands with Tommy, joining a year later; his keyboards and samplers were what gave the band their trademark sound. The band became a quartet when David 'Yorkie' Palmer, a long-time friend of the band who produced some of their earlier material, joined as bassist, allowing Tommy to concentrate more on vocals. Andy left the band at the end of 1997, and was replaced by Leon Caffrey. The band reached their peak of success with their second album, Tin Planet, in 1998, but began to falter afterwards due to various problems with their record company at the time, not least involving the band's third album, titled Love You More Than Football. The provisional tracklisting was published on the band's website, and song titles were leaked to magazines. However, the album was never actually released and is now only available on bootleg. Around this time, Space were dropped and spent a few years hunting around for labels.

Jamie Murphy left in 2001, and the band called it a day four years later, after releasing one final album. Afterwards, Jamie and Franny formed a band called Dust with three others; Leon has moved to Australia; Tommy fronted the Drellas and Tommy Scott & The Red Scare; Franny and Yorkie worked with other bands, and on solo material; and Andy Parle died in 2009. It was meeting up at his funeral that inspired the three original members to reunite the band.

In 2011, the band announced they would be Back From the Dead for a reunion gig in Liverpool, albeit without Yorkie and Leon, and with a new drummer, bassist and additional keyboardist.

The band members were:

Discography:

  • Spiders (1996)
  • Invasion Of The Spiders (B-side and remix album) (1997)
  • Tin Planet (1998)
  • Greatest Hits (2002)
  • Suburban Rock 'n' Roll (2004)

The band provide examples of:

  • Berserk Button: the Hillsborough Disaster. The band played the Hillsborough Justice Concert in 1997 and are long-time supporters of the Justice For The 96 Campaign. Never joke about it in front of Franny or Jamie. It's Personal.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Franny, towards Jamie. According to one interview, Franny saw his main role as 'stopping Jamie's head being kicked in'.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Tommy comes across as one in interviews. To a lesser extent, Franny also qualifies.
  • Cool Old Guy: Yorkie.
  • Creator Breakdown: the band suffered a communal one in 1997. See It Got Worse below.
  • Fan Nickname: Ginger Space for Jamie, as a Shout-Out to the Spice Girls.
  • Fiery Redhead: Jamie - and how. See Red Oni, Blue Oni below. Funnily enough, at one point, he had a side project going called Firehead.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Gentle Giant: Franny is the biggest band member and was once described as 'an Easter Island statue-faced bouncer on the door of the hardest nightclub in Hell'. Quite fitting, as he did used to be a bouncer, but he's actually very nice, friendly and approachable in real life, and is always happy to talk to fans.
  • He's Back: Jamie is in the new line-up, and the band are well and truly over their past differences.
  • It Got Worse: in 1997. Jamie had a nervous breakdown. Tommy lost his voice for two months and was stalked by a crazed fan in America. Franny had various health problems. Yorkie's mother died. Poor communication nearly broke up the band whilst touring Asia. Andy, the quiet one of the band, grew increasingly unhappy and left at the end of the year because he couldn't cope with the pressures of fame and constant touring. Luckily, things started looking up when 'Avenging Angels' came out.
  • The Nineties
  • Oop North: they're from Liverpool. As you can tell if you've ever heard Jamie sing.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jamie and Tommy respectively. Jamie was a Fiery Redhead whose constant partying caused him to have a nervous breakdown, while Tommy was the more sensitive and introverted one of the two. The trope also applies in the musical sense as Tommy's songs were more melodious and romantic - albeit in a rather twisted way - while Jamie's were darker in tone, particularly on Spiders, and more indie rock-oriented.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: there was a rumour going around in 2009 that Tommy had died. Tommy found out and unsurprisingly, was not happy.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: no, there was nothing going on with Tommy and Cerys in 1998, even if they did have a lot of chemistry whenever they were performing 'The Ballad Of Tom Jones' on TV or elsewhere (since Space and Catatonia played a lot of the same festivals around the time the song came out).

The band's music provides examples of:

  • Anti-Love Song: Yorkie summed up Space's approach to songwriting as 'boy kills girl, falls in love'. It's easier to name songs by the band that don't fall into this category somehow.
  • Ax Crazy: 'Mr Psycho' plays this for laughs. There's also 'Piggies' from Tin Planet.
  • Break Up Song: 'Begin Again', 'There's No You', 'Now She's Gone', 'Influenza', 'Disco Dolly', 'One O'Clock', 'Love You More Than Football'. And a whole lot of others, probably.
  • Call-and-Response Song: 'Cameraman'.

 Franny: Why do you do it?

Tommy: I do it 'cos I can!

  • Cover Version: 'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place' (the Animals), 'Mad Dogs & Englishmen' (Noel Coward), 'Sunny Afternoon' (the Kinks, with Tom Jones), 'Massachusetts' (the Bee Gees).
  • Darker and Edgier: 'Darker Clouds' and 'Storm Clouds', both considerably more downbeat versions of 'Dark Clouds', which the band reportedly prefer to the original. Likewise, the number of tracks premiered at a small exclusive gig in 2002, some of which made it onto Suburban Rock 'n' Roll or the singles released from it, some of which were released over the website - definitely qualify, having a harder sound and darker lyrics than the songs from the Tin Planet / Love You More Than Football era, about alienation, paranoia, apocalytic scenarios, mental illness, and suicide.
    • Flies, from around the same era, definitely would have qualified for this trope, had it been released.
  • Days of the Week Song: 'Diary Of A Wimp'.
  • Genre Roulette: Tin Planet. Compare 'Disco Dolly' to 'Piggies', 'Unluckiest Man In The World' to 'Avenging Angels', or 'Begin Again' to 'Fran In Japan'. No two songs sound similar.
  • Grief Song: 'Avenging Angels' and 'Bad Days' were both tributes to the band members' lost loved ones. In light of Andy Parle's death, the songs are even more poignant.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Tommy seems to love doing himself down and/or playing the part of a loser in his lyrics, particularly in 'Begin Again', 'Unluckiest Man In The World', 'Me & You Vs The World' ("you took a chance on a loser like me") or 'Only Half An Angel' ("you're brilliant, witty, ambitious...all of the things that I could never be").
  • Hidden Track: 'Yes You Do' on Love You More Than Football.
  • Instrumentals: most of Franny's tracks were instrumental tracks, normally at the end of each album. Spiders had 'Growler', Tin Planet had 'Fran In Japan' (and 'The Man' is semi-instrumental), and Love You More Than Football had 'Juno'.
    • On the B-side front, there's 'Had Enough', 'Stress Transmissions', 'Yeah Right!' and 'Theme From Baretta Vendetta'.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: 'Me And You Versus The World' is quite a cheerful-sounding song...about a couple who try to rob a shop and end up being shot dead. Still, at least they die happy. And 'Avenging Angels' takes on a darker tone once you realise it's about your dead loved ones watching over you.
  • The Masochism Tango / Slap Slap Kiss: taken Up to Eleven with 'The Ballad Of Tom Jones', and even more so in the video, where Tommy and Cerys are on a car on top of a cliff, with her forcing him ever close to the edge. The characters in the song are constantly trying to torture and kill each other, and the only thing that prevents either of them from murdering the other is the music of the titular Welsh crooner.
  • Missing Episode: Love You More Than Football. It was set to be released in 1999, then 2000, and even had a single released from it - 'Diary Of A Wimp' - but never came to fruition. It's also the last album before the split with Jamie on it, and also the last album with lead vocals by other band members besides Tommy (or instrumentals).
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: while they're generally classified as indie, they also draw influences from hip-hop (particularly on Spiders), film soundtracks, big band, rock 'n' roll, techno, and electronica, with Tin Planet being the most noticeable example of this. It's kind of expected, really, since the band had a singer who was more influenced by films than music, a classic rock fan guitarist, one drummer into jazz and another one into hip-hop and loops, a keyboard player who was seriously into dance music, and a bassist who liked literally anything. Jamie's songs were more indie/rock oriented, while Franny's tracks were almost entirely electronic instrumentals. Spiders made heavy use of loops and samples, Tin Planet was noticeably poppier, while Suburban Rock 'n' Roll and the never-released Flies had a harder edge to them. The lost album Love You More Than Football was somewhere in between.
  • Obsession Song: Space seem to like this trope. 'Drop Dead', Turn Me On To Spiders', 'Bastard Me Bastard You', 'Be There', 'Diary Of A Wimp', 'If I Ever', and 'There's No You' are all examples.
  • Performance Video: most of their videos fall under this category, particularly 'Female Of The Species' and 'Dark Clouds'.
  • Precision F-Strike: 'Turn Me On To Spiders':

  "But if anybody comes near me / she'll cut their fucking balls off."

  • Sampling: Space absolutely loved doing this, particularly in the early days. Spiders is very heavy on samples - the one that stands out the most being the Elephant Man sample on 'No One Understands' - as are several B-sides. See Spoken Word in Music below.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: 'Mr. Psycho' and 'Drop Dead'.
  • Shout-Out: it would take less time to name a song written by Tommy that didn't namecheck various celebrities or fictional characters. 'Charlie M', 'The Ballad Of Tom Jones', 'Female Of The Species' and 'Bad Days' are particular examples, namechecking Madonna, Hannibal Lecter, Sherlock Holmes, Mr Blond and Mr Blue, Charles Manson and Dracula amongst others. The lyrics of 'The Ballad Of Tom Jones' also Title Drop various Tom Jones songs.
    • 'Voodoo Roller' was inspired by The Usual Suspects.
    • The title of 'Female Of The Species' is a possible Shout-Out to Rudyard Kipling.
    • 'A Liddle Biddy Help From Elvis'.
    • 'Pretty Suicide' was inspired by the band Suicide.
    • 'Children Of The Night' is a Shout-Out to Dracula. Right down to the sample about the song of the wolves.
    • The beginning of 'Kill Me' is a slightly speeded up version of the intro to 'Foxy Lady' by Jimi Hendrix.
  • Signature Song: 'Female Of The Species'.
  • Spoken Word in Music: loads of examples. 'No One Understands' has a sample from The Elephant Man as its middle eight; 'Bastard Me Bastard You' has an Alfred Hitchcock sample; 'I Am Unlike A Lifeform You've Ever Met' is entirely spoken word and ends with an American radio announcer talking about a zombie attack; 'Disco Dolly' starts with a car horn and a group of Scousers talking outside a club; 'The Man' and 'Juno' are instrumental tracks with sampled speech scattered throughout; and other songs have fragments of unintelligible speech, some apparently from the band themselves.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: all band members except the drummers have done lead vocals at some point.
    • Jamie: 'Voodoo Roller', 'No-One Understands', 'Kill Me', 'Gravity', 'One O'Clock', 'Evil Eye', 'Despise', 'Major Pager', 'Piggies', 'Lovechild Of The Queen', 'Voices', and various B-sides.
    • Yorkie: 'Why Can't We Turn On The Lights?', 'Supersonic Jetplane' and 'Lost In Space'.
    • Franny: 'I Am Unlike A Lifeform You've Ever Met'.
  • Surreal Music Video: '20 Million Miles From Earth'.
  • The Something Song: 'Goodbye Song'.
  • Wretched Hive: 'Neighbourhood' is a song about one. Apparently it's based on where the band members grew up.
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