this new record The Red Thread will give Arab Strap the credit
they deserve. Yes, it is a little moody (dreary to be specific) but that
doesn't negate its excellence. This is easily their best record to date,
in case anybody is listening.
I suppose their small but growing popularity in American is a result of
their somber mood and sourly cynical lyrics, but Arab Strap in my opinion
is one of the most consistent bands to be found in indie-rock land. I
mean come on, the ever more cheery Belle and Sebastion liked this band
enough to name a CD after them.
This Scottish post-folk duo is also one of the more prolific bands that
I know of. This is their 5th release since 1997 including the wonderfully
dark live album Mad for Sadness that came out last year.
On The Red Thread, the usual elements essential to any Arab Strap
recording are to be found, but this time around they have perfected their
sound. Vocalist and lead singer Aidan Moffett is back with his special
blend of lyric that captures the drug-induced paranoia of a month long
drug and alcohol binge, after having had your heart broken. Most lyrics
are not sung but spoken by Moffet, with his signature drunken enunciation
and heavy accent, as the tracks slowly build from tenderness to a gut-wrenching
sonic release. Sound dreary? It is, so stay away if you can't enjoy a
Highlights are "Love Detective" with its atypical upbeat melody,
"Haunt Me" with its wonderfully repetitious symphonic sample,
and the simply lovely "Last Orders." My only complaint is that
this record was released now, as New York is in bloom and Spring is in
the air. I'm still listening, but it would have been better suited for
Winter. Oh well, this is one band who has earned the right to spread a
little foul temper around.
- Robert Lanham
Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry
Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
| May 2001 | Issue 14