The Arms of Someone New formed in 1983 in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois as the brainchild Mel Eberle and Steve Jones. Steve managed and helped record Mel’s band The First Things; while in the studio to demo some of Mel’s songs, they started collaborating. The idea for the Arms of Someone New was to combine Mel’s and Steve’s several varied interests in the Beatles, psychedelia, blues, new wave and post-punk to create a sound in which the listener would be enveloped, immersed. They drew inspiration from Joy Division, Young Marble Giants, Nico and Pink Floyd. Between 1983 and 1985 they released four cassettes, one 7” and one EP.
In September 1985, the duo self-released their debut full length ‘Susan Sleepwalking’ on Office Records. Equipped with simple keyboards, drum machines and jangly guitars, The Arms Of Someone New provided an American take on English folk, Ambient and Industrial music. The album is ten tracks of mood-filled music with sparse instrumentation and simple chord changes that paint pictures of stillness and calm. Psychedelic vocals add texture, producing an ethereal, dream-like quality. The Arms of Someone New challenges conformity by mixing styles, but without sacrificing unity. “‘Susan Sleepwalking’ could as well be retitled ‘Music for Interiors’ – both architectural and of the mind” – The Michigan Daily 1985.