While a product of the same Scottish post-punk movement which also gave rise to Orange Juice and Josef K, The Fire Engines were far more abrasive and discordant than their pop-revivalist brethren, forsaking melodies and hooks in favor of noise and fury. The Fire Engines formed in Edinburgh in 1979; three of its founders - singer/guitarist Davey Henderson, bassist Graham Main and drummer Russell Burn - were previously in the Dirty Reds.

Rounded out by guitarist Murray Slade, the quartet took their name from a 13th Floor Elevators song and debuted in late 1980 with the primal "Get Up and Use Me," issued on the Codex Communications label. Packaged in a plastic carrier bag, The Fire Engines' manic debut LP Lubricate Your Living Room (Background Music for Action People!) appeared in early 1981; a subsequent move to the Pop: Aural label resulted in the single "Candyskin," an about-face which pushed Henderson's long-buried nasal vocals to the fore and even introduced a string section.

The record was a major indie hit, but when the follow-up "Big Gold Dream" failed to match its success, The Fire Engines disbanded in late 1981; Henderson and Burn soon reunited in Win, while Henderson also resurfaced in the 1990s with the Nectarine No. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide