Named after the song 22-20 Blues by Skip James, the 22-20s formed as a three-piece with Martin Trimble on guitar/vocals, Glen Bartup on bass and Mark Barrett, later to be followed by James Irving, on drums. They were soon augmented live by Charly Coombes (brother of Supergrass' brothers Gaz and Rob Coombes) on keyboards, who subsequently joined 'full time.'
Their first studio-recorded album, a self-titled, 10-track effort, was released in September 2004, following a six-track live EP released the previous year. Both releases were critically acclaimed. They toured the US and supported Oasis on tour in July 2005, though many commented that their work-rate was modest (for a band trying to 'break'). They broke up on 25 January 2006, after cancelling planned appearances at V festival and Pukklepop, and while in the process of recording a long awaited and long delayed second album.