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Sneaker Pimps
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Sneaker Pimps are a trip-hop trio formed in Reading, England, in 1995, following the success of Portishead's Dummy and Tricky's Maxinquaye. Borrowing heavily from Portishead and Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps pursued a trancelike but edgy sound, highlighted by Kelli Dayton's soulful vocals. While Dayton was the focal point, Chris Corner (guitar) and Liam Howe (keyboards) are the band's leaders, writing all of the songs and producing the records. Howe and Corner had been playing in bands since the early '90s, to no success. After seeing Dayton sing with a pub band in 1995, they convinced her to join the fledgling Sneaker Pimps, who had taken their name from an article the Beastie Boys published in their Grand Royale magazine about a man they hired to track down classic sneakers. Sneaker Pimps released their first single, "Tesko Suicide," in May of 1996, and it was greeted with positive reviews in the U.K. music press. Becoming X, the group's debut, was released in August and became a critical success, with Q magazine naming it one of the best albums of the year. However, the band failed to make an impact on the pop charts in the U.K. A remix album followed in early 1998, but by the time of the follow-up Splinter, Dayton had left the group; most of the vocals were taken by Corner. Though Splinter wasn't released in America, 2002's Bloodsport earned a release on Tommy Boy. Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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