They were the acclaimed indie band who notched up four Top 40 chart hits in the space of ten months and cracked the Top 20 with their debut album.

But within four years of their debut single No One Speaks breaking into the UK pop charts, it was all over for Geneva.

Before the second album Weather Underground was even released the Aberdeen-formed five-piece's record label Nude, which provided a home for Britpop icons Suede, went into financial meltdown and the band members were forced to sign on in Edinburgh.

Official album launches in London were binned and the disillusioned band members had had enough. They split.

Now 19 years later the the band led by the angelic voiced Andrew Montgomery have officially reformed and have decided to make a comeback.

With four of the original five including Montgomery and guitarist Steven Dora tentatively seeing if they could still cut the mustard in rehearsals during the summer, they are confident enough to play live for the first time in Edinburgh and London next month.


Geneva now: Andrew Montgomery (top left), Douglas Caskie (top right), Keith Graham (bottom left) and Steven Dora.

And East Kilbride-raised Montgomery says this is not going to be just another reformed 90s band's nostalgia trip. There are plans to write and release new songs and perhaps rediscover the chemistry which saw their brooding art pop debut Further garner so many plaudits.

"It is the power of social media. You wouldn't believe the people that contact you that are perfect strangers over the music. And they don't give up playing the music. 

"People say they will always think fondly of Geneva. So it is the power of suggestion, really.

"Eventually you get to the stage where you only have one life, you only have one shot at things, so why not do something that makes you happy.

"There is not an ounce of cynicism in it, it's a case of thinking: 'God, yeah, maybe we kind of stopped a wee bit too soon. Maybe if we had taken a breather after we were buffeted about'.

"Of course me living over here now, it was all organised through a Facetime thing.

"The idea is to get in front of some people and blast through the songs and see how it goes. I am sure it will be a bit rough and ready.

"Getting together was weird and really really good in the way on how natural it all seems. Working together as a band for the first time in 20 odd years is so bonkers and such a nice feeling.

Nature's Whore caught the attention of music hacks at the time when it was circulated as a promo

"We are just chatting away and you launch into the songs from the first album and it is almost like muscle memory.

For the former Scottish national newspaper journalist now living in Stockholm with his Swedish partner this will be some juggling act, as he also holds down a day job as a writer and editor for a marketing bureau and has plans to release an album in the summer fronting the electronic band Us created with native musician Leo Josefsson.

"They are quite generous with holiday allowance here, which I think will help," said Montgomery who has been living in Sweden's capital for the past four years.

"I am lucky as Leo has his own creative studio so he actually has time to do some of the hard graft and I dip in and out really. It's a nice problem to have.

"It will work. The rest of the band are all in and around Edinburgh and the other three have kids. But if Tim Burgess can do it from Los Angeles with the rest of The Charlatans in the north west of England, Sweden to Scotland is a cinch by comparison.

"I will always do music, so if it has to be something I juggle with something else, then so be it."

Montgomery, whose octave crushing vocals first got an airing in church choirs, was 22 when he first met Dora through a colleague in Aberdeen and eventually Geneva was born.

It was hardly an overnight success. Their first gig was in Aberdeen in October, 1992 and the debut hit single made the pop charts four years later. Then came Into the Blue, Tranquilizer and Best Regrets.

Montgomery admits that a three year gap between their debut album and their follow-up might have been too long - but the band were struggling with dealing with record company expectations.

"I think we were caught between two stools, because we didn't want to retread, a bit more of the same thing with knobs on and we had become influenced by dance music, electronic music at that time, and we had broad tastes," said Montgomery. "But I will be frank, the record company were a little bit scared of how far we had gone on the second album.

"The record label thought it was a great idea to push the boundaries, but then faced with the reality of listening to what we came up with, they kind of took fright a little bit, especially at the tail end of the 90s when pop in the shape of Robbie Williams and Kylie was beginning to take over.

"Indie music wasn't being played on the radio as much because Radio One had shifted its way of doing things. So suddenly it was a case of saying to us that they needed home runs and they can't necessarily indulge people too much.

"So there was a bit of pressure, in that they were saying they weren't hearing any hits. "We must have gone through about eight recording studios and the whole thing took about a year. Three years between albums was too long."

Once the band came up with something the record company were happy, Nude started to get into financial difficulty - and the band's wheels began to fall off.

"You have a situation where people turn round and say the record company can't afford to pay the next option, you are going to have to sign on," he recalled.

"At the time we were preparing to put out a second album, can you imagine we were going cap in hand to the job centre in Edinburgh where most of us were living at that time, and going, erm, we might have to sign on and we don't know for how long because the record company cannot afford to pay us this month and the tour we were supposed to do has been cancelled.

"Weather Underground was coming out in March 2000 and all of this was happening at the start of the year. Suddenly they really hit the buffers financially and in the end it went under. They didn't even have the deposit to pay for some London shows we were going to do for the album launch.

"So you can kind of imagine after that level of disappointment, and that level of stress, why we decided to step away from things, because it is the classic case of the business getting in the way of the creativity.

"Some bands like to make a big announcement that they have split up due to musical differences, our thing was that we were all really knackered with it all.

"It all led to an abrupt ending in 2000 which really means we have unfinished business, thus one of the motivations for our reforming now."

Montgomery said he had no problems being compared to labelmates Suede at the time. "It was great in one respect: Suede seemed to like our music and obviously touring with them a couple of times really helped us get exposure. I personally have so much respect for them as a band.

"But at the same time, people then tend to label bands as copycats, and that’s not fair to us. I think if anything we are more in debt to Tim Buckley, The Byrds and The Smiths, to name but three influences, much as we all loved Suede’s music; and touring them was a thrill.

"If you ask me whether I would have preferred to avoid the link if we had our time again, I’d say no. I’m really grateful and happy to have known them, and for much of the time on Nude Records things were great."

Montgomery carried on making music in different guises, heading to New York after the spilt and really came to the fore five years ago with an acclaimed debut solo album before forming Us.

The singer does not look back in anger, though as the 20-somethings reform as 40-somethings.

"We got the chance to do something so many talented musicians in Scotland did not, and from that point of view I will always be grateful for the chance of us actually getting out there," he said. "You know playing with Suede, Bluetones, Manic Street Preachers, doing T in the Park, and Glastonbury.

"These are the things that stay with you. How lucky is that for someone to get the chance to do that."

With bass player Keith Graham and drummer Douglas Caskie on board, the band's second guitarist Stuart Evans can't join up as he lives in California, but Montgomery speculates that he might change his mind if the band head Stateside in the future.

"We are not under any illusions, things have changed in terms of the music industry now, but it is just nice to think, let's just celebrate that we had these songs, play them for people, see what gives, and yeah, we are all writing songs, we can still come up with ideas," said Montgomery.

"We are looking to record new material, but first things first, let's just get back on the horse, and see how things go. See if people turn up, to start with. But assuming they do, and assuming there is still the love, we will go forward.

"I think when you get older you truly feel liberated from all the 'best in school/pecking order' nonsense that surrounds new bands and their contemporaries, especially during such a Darwinian time as Britpop.

"The guys are still great guys and they are all great musicians, and I think it would be really interesting to see what we will come up with after all the influences that have percolated through your brain. To see what all the things you have absorbed in the intervening years will turn into. And yeah, why not.

"At the end of it all, for me, music is life. I don't see how I can turn my back on doing music, even if it is just for a core group of fans, or even if it is just for ourselves. It is just the whole idea of creating. You do it because you enjoy doing it."

The reformed band make their debut at The Wee Red Bar in Edinburgh on February 1 followed by Aces and Eights in Tufnell Park, London the following night.