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With Amelia Fletcher's bands, personnel changes always require brand new names: Heavenly was basically just Talulah Gosh with a new keyboard player, and when DJ Downfall replaced the late Mathew Fletcher on drums, the group took the new handle Marine Research. Similarly, Tender Trap was simply Marine Research after attrition: guitarist Peter Momtchiloff needed to attend to his day job as the philosophy editor at Oxford University Press; while keyboardist Cathy Rogers was off in America, hosting the popular cable television show Junkyard Wars, which she also created. This left Amelia Fletcher on vocals and melodica, Rob Pursey on guitar, and DJ Downfall on bass. (Downfall also created the largely electronic drum patterns that Pursey and Fletcher's early songs were based on; on-stage, the trio played along to a CD-R of these drum tracks playing in a boombox on top of Downfall's bass amp.) The trio's first release was the three-song single Oh Katrina in May 2002, followed in July by the debut album Film Molecules. Their second album, 2006's 6 Billion People, featured vocals from the Magnetic Fields' Claudia Gonson, while 2010's Dansette Dansette involved new drummer Katrina Dixon and Allo Darlin' singer Elizabeth Morris. Before their next album, 2012's excellent Ten Songs About Girls, the band made another switch with Betty and the Werewolves' Emily Bennett taking over Morris' guitar and vocals role.
Tender Trap is an indie rock/twee pop band, based in London (UK), formed in 2001 by three of the five members of Marine Research - Amelia Fletcher, Rob Pursey, and John Downfall.
Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey were previously in the twee pop band Heavenly, and some have seen Tender Trap as representing a return to the pop aesthetic of that earlier band. On their first, electronically slanted album Film Molecules, the songs demonstrate an eclectic mix of musical styles, with a clear nod to the similarly eclectic approach taken by The Magnetic Fields on their 69 Love Songs album.
The band's initial intention was to be a recording outfit only, due to their hatred of transporting drums from place to place. They compromised by playing live but using a CD player for backing beats. Additional live performers have included Claudia Gonson (of The Magnetic Fields) on drums, and Lupe Núñez-Fernández of Pipas and Amor de Días, who was a guest vocalist on the Language Lessons EP and the second album 6 Billion People.
After a quiet 2007-2008, Tender Trap reformed at the beginning of 2009 as a five piece, with additional members Elizabeth Morris (also in Allo Darlin') on guitar and vocals and Katrina Dixon (formerly of Police Cat, Sally Skull and The Garden City Project) on drums and vocals. They performed on the main stage at Indietracks festival in Derbyshire in July 2009 and the indoor stage in July 2010. Elizabeth Morris left to concentrate on Allo Darlin' in August 2010 and Emily Bennett (Betty And The Werewolves) joined the following month on guitar and vocals.
In 2010, Tender Trap released Dansette Dansette, an album that finds Fletcher working with "up-and-coming British indie luminaries, rediscovering her musical beginnings, and continuing to incorporate and impart feminist consciousness through sharp, yet tender, pop songs"