ARTIST: Arson Garden
TITLE: Under Towers
YEAR RELEASED: 1990
CHART ACTION: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Well…if you were in Indy or Bloomington, IN in 1990 and went to clubs, sure. Otherwise, this was a hidden gem
LINEUP: April Combs, Clark Starr, James Combs, Joby Barnett, Michael Mann
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the many bands coming from Indiana University over time, Arson Garden straddled melody and grunge – a Midwestern Velocity Girl for comparison.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Small music scenes can produce some interesting material. Indiana University has, over time, produced musicians and bands that are as quality and distinctive as other college / hipster areas. It’s just, well…it was Indiana, you know.
Arson Garden (who I saw several times in Indy in the 90’s and actually had conversations with them before and after gigs – not that they remember me) was influenced by several trends. Grungy, distorted guitars – melodic vocals – minor keys – sonic variations. They combined them into some interesting material (such as “Lash”) that showcases their influences without outright copying them.
This record (coming after long, long gone cassettes and an EP) is a good introduction to the band. The production seems flat (lots of mid-range here), and a few of the songs seem derivative of each other as the record goes on. But if you want to dig on some early 90’s hidden bands, this is one to find.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: April and James Combs were brother and sister, and April married band member Michael Mann
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B+: They’d improve their songwriting, and the production lets them down a bit, but it’s a worthy listen.