Preston band back with a surprise release - but no live dates...yet

A Preston-based band which once lost out to Ellie Goulding for a major record contract has recaptured the spirit of its glory days by releasing a greatest hits compilation.

Preston-based band The Underdogs rode the crest of the indie wave in the 2000s
Preston-based band The Underdogs rode the crest of the indie wave in the 2000s

The Underdogs became well-known on the indie music scene in the mid-late 2000s, but disbanded seven years ago.

“For ages, we have had people asking where they can get certain tracks from - and so we just thought that we should do something with all this music that we had sitting there,” the band’s former bassist Phil Scarisbrick explains.

The release came in the form of a surprise Christmas Day drop - and has delighted fans from as far afield as Norway.

The five-piece group appeared to be on the cusp of chart success as they rode the crest of the indie wave which followed the Arctic Monkeys surge in popularity more than a decade ago. As well as packed local gigs - the highlight being a fringe event at Radio 1’s Big Weekend when it came to Preston in 2007 - the Underdogs also supported the likes of Ash and The Futureheads on tour.

By the end of the decade, the band were seemingly poised to defy their name and hit the big time, but Phil is sanguine about the fact that they missed out.

“It was just one of those of things - we kept getting told that it was down to us and another artist when it came to being signed by a big label. On one occasion, we found out that the other artist was Ellie Goulding - I'm not a fan, but I don’t hold it against her!” Phil laughs.

“There was a lot of interest in us and record labels even came up from London to see performances. We didn’t make a conscious decision to split, but you can’t rely on the goodwill of your family forever - you have to start making some money.”

Phil says the “cyclical” music industry was turning against the group’s style just at the time when they might otherwise have been snapped up.

But the band's members are still on good terms - three of them have known each other since their school days at Leyland St. Mary's primary and four of the group now run the music review website together.

“It’s great to be able to discover new acts who need a push - just like we did.

“Streaming sites do make it easier for upcoming bands these days - we didn’t have the same access. But what is even harder as a result is standing out from the crowd,” Phil muses.

Meanwhile, drummer Chris Jopson, is also looking to support the next generation of talent as the director of his own music academy.

There are currently no plans for The Underdogs to perform live - mostly because the band now live in different parts of the country. However Phil advises fans to “watch this space”.

“I’d never rule it out - because I look back with such joy at being able to do what we did as a group of mates. It was a privilege.”

The greatest hits album is available on streaming sites now, with a CD version due early in the new year.