Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Renowned for their stripped-down lineup of bass guitar and drums, the Inbreds were one of the foremost bands emerging from the Canadian indie scene of the '90s, deftly combining upbeat, catchy Beatlesesque pop with emotionally intense melodies and harmonies. While often associated with the Halifax Pop Explosion and bands like Sloan and Thrush Hermit, the Inbreds got their start in the college town of Kingston, Ontario, in 1992, where they released cassettes of their own music and of other Kingston lo-fi bands on drummer Dave Ullrich's Proboscis Funkstone or PF Records. Of PF's sizable roster, it was the Inbreds, Ullrich's own partnership with bassist/songwriter and longtime friend Mike O'Neill, that caught the attention of listeners outside Kingston. Their debut LP, Hilario (1993), was a gorgeous and sensitive collection of raw material from early cassette releases Darn Foul Dog, Let's Get Together, and Egrog. The release of Hilario took the Inbreds on the road with Canadian alt-pop darlings the Rheostatics, the first of many tours on which the band would find unlikely new fans by opening for well-known rock outfits like the Tragically Hip and Buffalo Tom. In 1994 came the more polished follow-up effort Kombinator, produced by Dave Clark (ex-Rheostatics, now in the Dinner Is Ruined). Kombinator's mix of energetic hooks and melancholy falsetto pushed the Inbreds to the fore of Canada's indie scene, earning them heavy college radio airplay and a MuchMusic Best Alternative Video nomination for the single "Any Sense of Time." The band signed to TAG Records (Atlantic) and took advantage of the major-label budget to experiment with a fuller sound, enlisting the help of 4AD producer Lincoln Fong for their next studio effort. The resulting album, 1996's It's Sydney or the Bush, featured guest musicianship on horns, strings, and six-string guitar to create a thicker, more upbeat pop sound. Shortly after the release, TAG Atlantic folded, and while this pinched the band's budget significantly, the Inbreds continued to dominate the Canadian indie circuit, touring extensively and capturing nominations for Best Alternative Band from the East Coast Music Awards and Best Alternative Album from the Junos. Winning Hearts, the band's fourth and final album, was released in 1998 on Murderecords, the infamous Halifax, Nova Scotia, label run by fellow Canadian indie poppers Sloan. With its return to the simple, lively and emotionally charged style of earlier albums, Winning Hearts was a hit with fans and critics alike, holding the number one spot on Chart Magazine's survey of Canadian Campus Radio for two consecutive months. After half a year of touring and promotions, the Inbreds decided to bow out on this high note, playing their final show on July 4, 1998, at a CFNY event in Toronto. In 2000, to the excitement of the Inbreds' legion of fans, Mike O'Neill re-emerged as a solo act, releasing the full-length What Happens Now? on Perimeter Records.