Bahama is the sound of a band making music the way they want to, and not attempting to follow any trend or blueprint. The result being a very special album indeed. It kicks off with the beautiful Climb - all swooning vocals and fuzzy guitars - and continues in much the same manner throughout. Apparently, this record was made 'on the cheap', but for me the production is spot on - it has a very warm sound, something which is far too rare these days. Anther track of note is the incredibly catchy Boo You, but to be honest each track is as good as the next, and it seems very unfair to single out specific tracks for praise. If there was any justice in this world Bahama would sell bucket loads.
Arnold return after some length of absence due to the collapse of Creation Records. But far from returning sheepishly and half heartedly they've come back stronger than ever here. Highlights include the opener 'Climb' with it's atmospheric guitars. Reminiscent of Coldplay at times. 'Oh My' is stunning, a single release and an instant classic with it's '300 days in July' lyric. Very evocative. 'Tiny Car' leans in a slightly rockier direction and the closer 'Pavey Ark' is as lovely as anything they've done. If you've not heard this band ( which given their profile is quite likely! ) I urge you to check this out. And a big hand to Alan McGhee of Poptones for re-signing them.
I saw Arnold open for The Pernice Brothers (an American powerpop band) in London around 2002. I thought they were excellent, with an intriguing sound, and a great sense of humour when the mics were turned off prematurely at the end of the show. I sought out this album, and it has always been a favourite, that you can come back to again & again. It's hushed, and low key, but their vocal harmonies always keep the songs light on their feet. Oh My, Easy & Tiny Car are just fantastic songs. When people talk about classic lost albums such as Big Star's Radio City & Rodriguez's Cold Fact, I am pretty sure they will talk about Arnold's Bahama in a few years. From what I've read, they fizzled out after this album, which is unjust based on this album
The album has a distinct feel of calm about it. It does not offend the listener in anyway, in fact there is nothing to dislike about it. This may be the only down fall of the album, with the likes of Radiohead, White Stripes and The Strokes, there are distinct qualities that make you either love them, or hate them. With these though, it is just nice. It really did not stand out as an album to rave about nor criticise. Songs such as Boo You and the last track Pavey Ark (in fact about four separate ones, 15 minutes long in total) make you realise these guys do have talent. You will enjoy it, but it will not be that memorable... *** Sounds Like :- chilled out Coldplay, without heavy(?) guitars or a happy Elbow ***