Marine Girls PhotoBefore Tracey Thorn established herself with Everything but the Girl, she produced mellow, spare indie pop with the all-female act The Marine Girls. Inspired by The Raincoats and The Young Marble Giants, Thorn formed The Marine Girls with her schoolmate Gina and Jane Fox in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, in 1980. At first, Thorn played guitar with Gina on vocals and Fox on bass. Since they knew no drummers, the group decided to focus on a minimalist approach to music. After Gina kept missing rehearsals, she was replaced by Jane Fox's younger sister, Alice Fox, on vocals; Thorn would eventually sing as well. The trio recorded a tape called A Day by the Sea and sold it to their acquaintances.

The Marine Girls eventually released two albums in the U.K., 1982's Beach Party and 1983's Lazy Ways. Lazy Ways was produced by one of the band's influences, Stuart Moxham of The Young Marble Giants. While attending Hull University, Thorn began writing songs for herself; she was only able to gig with The Marine Girls during holidays. The Marine Girls broke up after Thorn and Alice Fox had an argument following a concert in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1983.

Thorn then recorded her solo album A Distant Shore before joining Ben Watt in Everything but the Girl. In 1997, Cherry Red Records combined both of The Marine Girls' albums onto one CD; spinART reissued the albums in the US four years later. ~ Ed Rivadavia, All Music Guide