The band was formed in 1988 by four school friends from Mt Eliza High School on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne, Victoria. The initial line-up consisted of: Andrew Cox (guitar, vocals), Philip Leonard (guitar, vocals, brass), Andrew 'Jack' Dyer (bass), Adam Newey (drums). The band took its name from the art movement Fauvism, which was characterised by both its intensity and infatuation with colour.
After releasing several EPs and singles, the band came to wider attention when they appeared on the bill of the first Big Day Out national tour in early 1993. In October of that year they signed to Polydor Records, and released their debut long player Drive Through Charisma.
The computer game Quarantine released in 1994 featured The Fauves' song "The Driver Is You" on the soundtrack.
The band released several more albums on Polydor, including 1996's successful Future Spa. It yielded considerable Triple J Hottest 100 success, with "Dogs Are The Best People" at #20 and "Self Abuser" at #30 in the Triple J Hottest 100, 1996. However by the end of 1999, the band was dropped from Polydor after the label's merger with Universal.
In 1999, following their departure from Polydor, they wrote two songs, "Bigger Than Tina" and "Bigger Than Tina II" for an Australian movie Bigger Than Tina, which were released on Festival. Since then the group has released several albums independently and had success on Triple J with "Bigger Than Tina" at #50 in 1999, and "Give Up Your Day Job" at #58 in 2000.
The band also appeared in Vanessa Stuart's one-hour documentary, The Fauves: 15 Minutes to Rock, a behind the scenes look at the music industry and band dynamics which aired on SBS during September, and also screened at the Document Film Festival in 2004.
The Fauves have recently released their eighth studio album with Future Spa/Lazy Highways producer Wayne Connolly. Titled Nervous Flashlights, it was released on July 10, 2006. Tracks that appear include "We Sleep in the Afternoon", "I'm Jim Fixx and I'm Dead Now", "The Lost Art of Shorthand", "True Love Waits", "Australian Gigolo", "Clive of India Curry Powder" and "I Am Not Approachable." In the meantime Andrew Cox has been contributing a humorous agony aunt segment on Jay and the Doctor's Triple J breakfast show every Tuesday since 2005