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All Music Guide:
Following a brief solo career under both his own name and the moniker Tin Tin, Stephen Duffy put together the Lilac Time, which traded in his former synth pop excursions for pastoral, folky English pop strongly recalling Skylarking-era XTC. Joined by Mickey Harris, Nick Duffy, and Michael Giri, Duffy crafted several eclectic albums making use of traditional instruments, beginning with a self-titled debut in 1988. 1989's Paradise Circus offered a bit of country & western influence, which was largely abandoned on 1990's ...& Love for All, partially produced by XTC's Andy Partridge. The Lilac Time's final album, 1991's Astronauts, began to return to the sound of Duffy's earlier solo career, so it was no surprise when the band broke up and Duffy resumed work as a solo artist. He re-formed the group in 1999 to release Looking for a Day in the Night.
The Lilac Time are a British alternative rock band that were originally formed in Herefordshire, England by Stephen Duffy, his brother Nick Duffy and their friend Michael Weston in 1986. Their name was taken from a line in the Nick Drake song "River Man".
Since their formation, The Lilac Time have gone through various line-up changes, with the Duffy brothers as mainstays. The band's activity has intertwined with Stephen Duffy's solo and songwriting career.
The Duffy brothers and Michael Weston had recorded music that would become the band's self-titled debut that was first released on Swordfish Records in 1987. Michael Giri and Fraser Kent joined when the band went on tour. The group signed to Fontana, who reissued their first album in remixed form in 1988. The group went on to release the albums Paradise Circus in 1989, and & Love For All in 1990, the latter of which was produced by Andy Partridge and John Leckie.
The Lilac Time were dropped by Fontana then briefly signed to Creation Records, where they were subsequently managed by label head, Alan McGee. Their sole release on Creation was Astronauts, in 1990. The Duffy brothers' cousin, noted-session musician Cara Tivey, had contributed organ and piano to the album.
The band later regrouped with Claire Worrall and Melvin Duffy (no relation to the brothers) and had recorded Looking For A Day In The Night with producer Stephen Street for spinART Records in 1999. They then put out Lilac 6 on Cooking Vinyl in 2001; Keep Going was released in 2003 under "Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time" on Folk Modern.
The Lilac Time's last album, Runout Groove, was released in 2007 on Bogus Frontage. The band played the 2007 Green Man Festival and the Queen Elizabeth Hall as a six-piece. Their gig at the Green Man Festival serves as the backdrop to the film "Memory & Desire — 30 Years in the Wilderness With Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time." The documentary was filmed over six years by Douglas Arrowsmith, who included new and vintage Lilac footage. The film is accompanied by a Universal Records album of the same name, which compiles songs from Duffy's thirty years of music making. Their Queen Elizabeth Hall concert is to be released as a live recording.
The band is now based in Cornwall.