Arnold :: 300 Days Of July

Towards the end on the Nineties, everyone in the UK seemed to be suffering en masse from Oasis-burnout and Acid House comedowns. The coked-up fervor that had nurtured a startling variety of music from Suede to Blur, from Supergrass to Elastica, was now producing shark-jumping acts like Chumbawumba and Republica. The dancefloors were sticky, the houselights were about to go up, and something more subdued was needed. Enter a handful of bands like Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, The Beta Band, Mojave 3, and Gomez–all of whom seemed to be working from a druggy, post-Radiohead template, but who could draw just as generously from English psychedelia of the Sixties (Pink Floyd or Canterbury Scensters like Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt). Debts to The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Teenage Fanclub were also in evidence, yet the squalls of feedback and VU-cacophonies had ebbed away. It was time to get a tad more low-key.

Even Creation Records, that pioneer of Planet Brit-Pop, could see the light. On the verge of bankruptcy, the label decided to release a mini-album of quiet, ramshackle demos recorded (in a barn) by a band called Arnold. And for just a moment, the clubs sounded very far away indeed. Here, finally, was the musical equivalent of someone beating a retreat to the countryside while feeling as worn out as Withnail & I. You got rained on  but the air was nice.

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