The Arms of Someone New: Susan Sleepwalking (1985)

Here's another one for my fellow chronic insomniacs, a moody, trance-inducing bit of home-brewed gothic ambient music.  While lo-fi and bare-boned, with cheap-sounding electronic beats and keyboards and at times slightly off-key vocals bathed in reverb, it's also quietly charming and sedate, something that should have been a forgotten holdover from my college radio days but is instead a record that has haunted me ever since.

The mood is established with opening track "St. Catherine," a Casio keyboard beat and spare synths beneath hushed, echo-laden vocals, the sound of a blowing breeze pervading the whole thing.  It's dark and creepy and gorgeous, early Cure and Cocteau Twins crossed with Eno as performed by a stoned, depressed dude with a four-track recorder in his bedroom. "The Fisherman" is even slower, tethered to a repeating guitar line, while "Song for Krista" is yet more sedate, shades of early Pink Floyd creeping into the picture.  And then you get the instrumental "With Louise," and if this one doesn't have you in a coma nothing will.  And I mean that in the best way.

The rest of the album continues in a similar vein, with some occasionally upbeat tracks taking on a more obvious new wave vibe, though the band's musical limitations better suit them to the quiet mood pieces than the stabs at more bracing goth/new wave songsmithery (which would become more prevalent on later albums).

You can buy/download the album cheap at Bandcamp (coupled with a like-minded if less striking follow-up EP).

Here's an audio rip of "St. Catherine":
...and "Song for Krista":