The band formed in 1984 in Bath. The original lineup consisted of singer/guitarist Trevor Tanner, drummer Jan Kalicki, and bassist Nick Chown; Tanner and Kalicki had previously played together in the short-lived punk band Moskow. Early gigs supported the likes ofThe Cult, The March Violets, and Lords of the New Church. In 1985, the band released their debut single, Sob Story, followed by the mini-album, Giants and their hit song “Happy Boy”. Word of mouth was such that the Bolshoi were able to sell out many of their early headlining performances.
The band migrated to London in 1985, and their lineup expanded to include Paul Clark on keyboards. In 1986, they released their first full-length album, Friends, and expanded their touring schedule to U.S., South America, and Poland. It was followed in 1987 by the album Lindy’s Party, on which the sound was more pop-oriented. TC Wall, reviewing the album in Underground magazine, described Lindy’s Party as “completely confident, commercial, professional, and dangerously catchy” and “a fine album that’ll be caressed for generations”.