Starting as a bedroom recording project, England's Salako began casually in 1995, recording in drummer Luke Barwell's bedroom, with guitarists David Langdale and James Waudby, drummer Luke Barwell, and friend Stu on bass. The band's light, wistful sound appealed instantly to fans of international indie pop. Barwell moved to bass guitar in 1997, and Stu changed to keyboards. Thomas Spencer joined the group on drums. The band soon drew the interest of England's Jeepster Records. After some unimpressive studio sessions, Jeepster realized that the bandmembers were more adept at home recordings, so the label financed a home studio for the group.
Their debut album, the 20-song Re-Inventing Punctuation, was released in 1998 on Jeepster to mixed reviews. The album, at the very least, introduced the band's quirky and offbeat sound to people outside of their hometown of Hull, England. The Growing Up in the Night and The Moonlight Radiates a Purple Glow in His World singles were released to promote the debut full-length. The group enjoyed a session with legendary John Peel of the BBC at year's end. Musicality was released in 1999. The 17-track album impressed listeners with its vast sound and cleaner recording than its predecessor. A slew of guest musicians added to the richness of the album's sound. "Look Left" featured a 200-member choir recorded at Hull's Sutton Methodist Church. The Bird and the Bag single was released in 1999 to complement the album.
The band's audience continued to grow. Langdale left the band in late 1999, at the end of a European tour with Pavement. The remaining members set out to release four EPs over a 12-month period. Each disc was titled after the places where and dates on which the cover photos were taken. The Mappleton Sands 201298 EP was released in October 1999, and included six songs that sounded more like folky psychedelia than the light indie pop fare that the band started with. The second in the series, the Ventimiglia 120899 EP was released in May 2000. Soon after, Luke Barwell left the band to record solo work under the pseudonym of Bitmap. The remaining members took a few years off, emerging in 2004 to announce the release of The Story of Our Life So Far in April 2004 on the Tablature Records label. ~ Stephen Cramer, Rovi