Following a well-publicized fall-out with frontman Guy Chadwick, guitarist Terry Bickers left the House of Love in 1990 to form Levitation with bassist Laurence O'Keefe, keyboardist Robert White, guitarist Christian Hayes and drummer Dave Francollini. A series of brilliant live gigs quickly cemented the fledgling group's status among the British press, while interviews with the eccentric Bickers, in which he expounded freely on topics including prog-rock revivals, flying saucers, reincarnation, bacchanalian revelry and Egyptology, further established the band as media darlings.
Anticipation was high for Levitation's recorded debut, and 1991's Coppelia EP did not disappoint: a shimmering, majestic effort highlighted by the narcotic epic "Smile," it also featured excursions into delicate psychedelia ("Rosemary Jones") and distorted pop ("Paid in Kind"). The follow-up, The After Ever EP, was equally strong, and the two records were later combined with live material and a pair of new tracks, "Squirrel" and "It's Time," as the full-length Coterie.
In 1992, Levitation issued the superb Need for Not album, soon signing to major label Chrysalis. In the wake of the release of 1993's Even When Your Eyes Are Open EP, the group mounted a British tour; while playing London's Tufnell Park Dome, Bickers abruptly announced "Oh, dear. We've completely lost it, haven't we?" and left the stage, never to return to the band and refusing to publicly discuss his exit. (He subsequently worked under the alias Cradle.) In his absence, the remaining members of Levitation hired new vocalist Steven Ludwin and issued an EP, King of Mice; the 1994 full-length Meanwhile Gardens, a patchy collection of re-recordings of old songs as well as new material, was issued only in Australia, and was the unit's final effort.