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Published on Oct 3, 2008
Part of the mid-1980s British indie pop boom, The Flatmates were part of the Subway Organization, a Bristol record label formed by Martin Whitehead, who was also guitarist and main songwriter for the band.
Following the band's formation in 1985, singles such as "I Could Be In Heaven", "Happy All The Time" and "Shimmer" established the band as potentially one of the most successful indie bands of the time, but the Flatmates disbanded in early 1989 before releasing a proper studio album.
The band's core members were Martin Whitehead (Guitar) and Debbie Haynes (Vocals). Initially, the band also included Kath Beach (Bass guitar) and Rocker (Drums). Prior to recording their first single, Beach left the band and was replaced by Sarah Fletcher.
The line-up of Haynes, Whitehead, Fletcher and Rocker recorded the first two Flatmates singles, 1986's "I Could Be In Heaven" and 1987's "Happy All The Time", both Whitehead compositions. Rocker left the band prior to their third single, November 1987's "You're Gonna Cry", and was replaced by Joel O'Beirne. Ironically, "You're Gonna Cry" was a Rocker composition, the only A-side he would pen for the band.
"Shimmer", released in March of 1988 as the fourth Flatmates single, was the band's biggest hit, reaching #2 on the UK Indie Chart. Shortly after the single was released, Tim Rippington was added as a second guitarist. Bassist Fletcher then left The Flatmates prior to their fifth and final single "Heaven Knows". She was eventually replaced by Jackie Carrera; however it was Whitehead who played bass on "Heaven Knows", while Rippington handled all the guitar.
The band split up in 1989, with Carrera joining The Caretaker Race and Whitehead and O'Bierne forming The Sweet Young Things.
Two collections of Flatmates material have been released on CD, Love and Death (1989) and Potpourri (Hits, Mixes and Demos '85 - '89) (2005).