2010 mini album from the veteran Britpop outfit fronted by Tim Booth. Produced by Lee 'Muddy' Baker, The Night Before seems fearless in comparison to its predecessors, a product, no doubt, of the way it was conceived: the band set up an ftp site to which they all contributed, downloading and updating each other's efforts at various intervals whilst Baker knocked things into shape. This "virtual" recording process (which eventually led to recording sessions in Brighton and Oswestry), was presumably inspired by the band's history of working with Brian Eno and has brought out the best in James, the results proving as diverse and intriguing as anything the band have attempted before.
Episodic look at the life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), from his childhood in Oriente province to his death in New York City. He joins Castro's rebels. By 1964, he is in Havana. He meets the wealthy Pepe, an early lover; a love-hate relationship lasts for years. Openly gay behavior is a way to spite the government. His writing and homosexuality get him into trouble: he spends two years in prison, writing letters for other inmates and smuggling out a novel. He befriends Lázaro Gomes Garriles, with whom he lives stateless and in poverty in Manhattan after leaving Cuba in the Mariel boat-lift. When asked why he writes, he replies cheerfully, "Revenge."