Pollyanna were an Australian alternative rock band that came to prominence in the mid-1990s with their brand of noisy indie guitar pop. Formed in Sydney, (as Blue Trike, they changed their name on their 13th gig to Pollyanna) Australia in 1993, the original Pollyanna line-up was Andrea Croft (vocals/guitar, but left prior to recording) Matt Handley (vocals/guitar), Maryke Stapleton (bass), and Serge Luca (drums). They released 2 EP's, numerous singles and 4 LP's. The band went into an indefinite hiatus in 2002. (Matt and Andrea had previously been in another band - Catherine Wheel - together. 1 EP - Self Portraits)
Their first EP, FordGreenSilverRocket, released in October 1994 through Mushroom Records' new imprint Bark, was largely ignored, although their second EP, Junior, was picked up by Australian radio after its release in February 1995, largely due to the track "Pale Grey Eyes".
Pollyanna's highly anticipated debut album, Long Player was released in early 1996. Recorded at Sydney's Paradise Studios with David Trump, the album received mostly positive reviews across the country for its guitar-driven pop. Several tracks became alternative radio staples and both the album and lead single "Lemonsuck" briefly cracked the Australian mainstream charts, whilst staying at the top of the Australian independent charts for several weeks. Soon after the album's release, Pollyanna found themselves with four singles—"Pale Grey Eyes", "Lemonsuck", "Keep Me Guessing" and "Piston"—all simultaneously in the Top 20 singles of the Australian independent charts. "Lemonsuck" and "Pale Grey Eyes" made the Triple J Hottest 100 list for 1995. Long Player received two ARIA award nominations for Breakthrough Artist – Album and Best Alternative Release in 1996.
With this newfound success in mind, Pollyanna re-released the two early EPs remixed onto one disc entitled Junior Rock in November 1996 and toured nationally with Powderfinger. It was around this time that DeSoto Records released a Pollyanna 7" single of "Fordgreensilverrocket" b/w "Grover Washington" in the USA.
Pollyanna toured extensively through 1996 and 1997, including several headline tours, a national tour with the Hoodoo Gurus and support slots for the Australian leg of world tours by Weezer, Paw, Teenage Fanclub, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sebadoh, The Cranberries and Garbage, plus appearances at The Big Day Out, Homebake, Falls Festival and Livid festivals.
Work began on their second album, Hello Halo in early 1997 at Festival Studios in Sydney with producer Paul McKercher. During the recording of Hello Halo Luca quit the band, eventually joining Sydney psychedelic pop outfit Drop City. Glenn Maynard, who had played drums in Melbourne bands Have a Nice Day and Violetine, was hired and recorded the last few remaining tracks with the band. Pollyanna then shifted base from Sydney to Melbourne.
Hello Halo was released in late 1997, again to positive reviews. Moody tracks like "Brittle Then Broken", "Velocette" and "Cooling Your Heels" confirmed that Pollyanna were capable of writing more than just straightforward guitar rock. Strings, horns, keyboards and orchestral percussion were used on several tracks as the band sought to expand their sound. A heavy touring schedule ensued, including being part of the new-look 1998 Homebake Festival that played Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Several more appearances on national television further increased their exposure.
Pollyanna's third album Delta City Skies saw the band head to the USA in October 1998 to record at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee with producer Brian Paulson. The album had a more widescreen sound than its predecessors and many tracks featured organ, leading to the addition of keyboard player Ace Moley to the touring band. After more extensive touring in Australia, including a national tour with Ben Folds Five, plus a slot on the 1999 Falls Festival, and a brief tour in the USA in support of Delta City Skies, Maynard left the band in 2000, to be replaced briefly by Andy Strachan, who would eventually go on to join The Living End.
The fourth and final album Didn't Feel a Thing was again recorded in the USA with Brian Paulson producing, this time at Sound of Music Studios in Richmond VA. By this time the band had parted ways with Mushroom Records. Handley played most of the parts himself on the album, including drums, with Stapleton contributing bass. Shock Records released the album and the new-look band hit the road again.
Touring band members between 1999–2002 included Sam Holloway (keyboards), Ace Moley (keyboards), Shaun Lohoar (drums) and Richard Coneliano (drums).
Things ground to a halt for the band by 2002 and whilst Pollyanna never officially split up, they stopped touring and making records as Pollyanna.
Matt Handley released a solo album in 2005, entitled Won't Get Over You and toured briefly with a new backing band The Dagger Stares as well as performing solo shows to support the release.
Matt Handley is now a guitar technician for Tame Impala and The Living End.
All releases through Mushroom Records except as indicated."Lemonsuck" (1995)
"Keep Me Guessing" (1996)
"Piston" / "Long Player" 7" (1996)
"FordGreenSilverRocket" / "Grover Washington" 7" (1996, DeSoto Records)
"Peachy Keen" (1997)
"Brittle Then Broken" (1998)
"Hermit Inertia" (1999)
"Feeding Circle" (1999)
"Rebound Girl" (2001, Shock Records)
featuring: "Pale Grey Eyes"
Junior Rock (1996, first two EPs remixed)
featuring: "Lemonsuck", "Keep Me Guessing", "Piston" and "Potomac"
Hello Halo (1997)
featuring: "Effervescence", "Peachy Keen", "Brittle Then Broken" and "Cinnamon Lip"
Delta City Skies (1999)
featuring: "Hermit Inertia", "Black Bear" and "Feeding Circle"
Didn't Feel a Thing (2001, Shock Records)
featuring: "Rebound Girl" and "Particular People"