The core of the band were Graeme Garlick (guitar, vocals, song writing), Hilary Dron (bass, cover art) and Cyril Simsa (keyboards). Graeme was originally from Manchester, Hilary was from Liverpool and Cyril was from North London. David Jones, the drummer on the record, was brought in as a session musician after the original drummer quit, and never actually played live with the band, though he does a good job in the studio.
In typical post-punk fashion, Graeme was the only real musician in the band. Hilary was a trained artist, who worked as a PA in various cultural institutions and did design work; Cyril was an aspiring writer, who did odd jobs at the Natural History Museum and the British Library. The band got together, when Cyril and Hilary both ended up working at the British Library at the same time.
Hilary had never played bass before, which is reflected in her unusually melodic approach to the instrument (sometimes even paralleling the vocals); and through Cyril had taken piano lessons in his teens, the instrument he was playing was an early monophonic keyboard synthesiser (a Roland), which would not play chords. This is why the synthesiser also mostly plays melody lines (or counter-melodies) with a lot of attention to timbre and long, floating notes that fade away with a slowly decaying envelope. For the purposes of the record, the band added an old electric piano as a second keyboard on selected tracks, but used it mostly to play sustained chords as harmonic fill in the background.
The album came about through a chance contact of Cyril's sister, who worked with Leo Feigin, well know at the time as a jazz producer and the founder of the rather austere avant-garde jazz label, Leo Records. Leo was looking to expand his output into more popular genres and took a chance on SAV, but given the poor sales, it was his first and last venture into popular music.
It was Leo's idea to bring in Seva, a Russian expat he knew from his jazz label, to play sax on three tracks. "Kim Lambert", the producer, was a moonlighting BBC sound engineer, which is why he worked only under his Christian names. The LP also includes a slightly eccentric early use of samples: the party noises on "Conscience" (Side 2, Track 4) are actually field recordings of a hippopotamus from the Mzima Springs nature reserve, lifted from a sound effects disc and multitracked.
Unfortunately SAV did not long survive making an album and it fell apart by the end of 1982, which is in part why sales never took off, and though Graeme and Hilary continued in other musical ventures for a time, they never had much success. Cyril went on to work as an editor and then moved to Prague, where he still lives. Hilary returned to Liverpool and became an art teacher. Graeme stayed in London.