Arab Strap: Classic Or Dud?

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Kind of encouraged by Josh, I bought an Arab Strap album and I'm not sure what to make of them. Any thoughts, readers?

Tom, Saturday, 23 December 2000 01:00 (eighteen years ago) Permalink

I had one of their albums, which I bought because I didn't mind the song Moffatt did on that Mogwai album. It made me want to put my head in a gas stove, and not in a good way. It was the least fun, most turgid, album I'd heard since Leonard Cohen's Songs from a Room. It reminded me of watching mucous hang precariously from the nose of someone who's ill at the table next to you for such an infernally long time that you actually begin to root for it to fall into their oatmeal. I'd like to give it another listen, but I lost it.

Otis Wheeler, Saturday, 23 December 2000 01:00 (eighteen years ago) Permalink

As I recall, Mr. Ewing, you came to me one dark night and ASKED which Arab Strap songs you should try. I instigated nothing. ;)

Josh, Saturday, 23 December 2000 01:00 (eighteen years ago) Permalink

CLASSIC! without a doubt, the strap rool, they were far and away my fave band at atp (not that that's saying too much), although being pissed and maudlin is definately the best time to listen to them, like when you've been drinking on an autumn saturday afternoon and you get home to an empty house and it's getting dark and it's after final score and there's nothing but mindless drivel on the telly, so you mute the telly and put the strap on and "it was the biggest cock you've ever seen" (officially the best first line on an album ever) comes drifting out of the speakers, classic.

carsmilesteve, Sunday, 24 December 2000 01:00 (eighteen years ago) Permalink

To be blunt, I thought they were bollocks. Not THE bollocks, just bollocks.

DG, Wednesday, 3 January 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
arab strap - best fucking band on the planet!

sisoje, Tuesday, 23 January 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) Permalink

Arab Strap...Brilliant, muscular, and vibrant in concert [as proved by 'Mad For Sadness'], edgy and dry as hell in the studio. Although 'Hello Daylight' from 'Elephant Shoe' has one of the best guitar hooks running through it that I've ever heard.

Dave Moore, Friday, 2 February 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
This seems an interesting thread to revive cause Arab Strap touch on some stuff we've talked about recently, about 'realism' in pop. AS are meant to be realistic cause they talk (a lot) about the grubby situational details of modern relationships, the drinking and the groping and the cheating. Does this give them a kind of artistic superiority - as I think they've claimed in interviews - over people who sanitise or idealise such stuff? Or does it just make them bores? All the stuff that people apparently used to criticise the Wedding Present for (cf Nick's conversational songs thread), Arab Strap have in spades, surely....

Tom, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

they have gone with a strong new order influence on the new single turbulence.

looking forward to the forthcoming New Order album - late august.

DJ Martian, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

I find that "gritty realists" tend to be full of shit compared to the gritty mundanity of even really shitty conditions of life. Just another form of escapism.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Sterling Clover, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

"Gritty mundanity", I like that a lot. Very spot-on.

Patrick, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

hmm, classic (sort of)

the first big weekend (it was called that wasn't it?) seemed ace when it came out, but looking back now it feels a bit...irvine welsh (a bad thing)

2nd album, philaphobia is my favourite, although the material from this was much better live, where they unleashed a lot more mogwai- eauq noise that balanced things out a lot more.

the thing with an album like philaphobia is, after you've got over the initial stage of playing an album loads, its not the kind of album you really want to come back to

for me this seems to have affected all their subsequent releases, i'd heard philaphobia enough, i didn't really want to hear it anymore, so i didn't want to hear subsequent albums which would be just the same.

they seem to fit into a category of band (high llamas, mogwai, stereolab, tindersticks) who will just go on making 'not bad' albums, that if you buy, its kind of, well, out of duty.

i like the grubbyness of arab strap, but there's only so much i can take of it. it seems too rooted in specifics (maybe too grim? too personal?) rather than the grubbyness of early fall, which is abstract, almost geographic/social grubbyness...

gareth, Thursday, 31 May 2001 00:00 (seventeen years ago) Permalink

ten years pass...

Ahh, the Girls of Summer EP.

djh, Thursday, 2 June 2011 17:38 (seven years ago) Permalink

finest moment

nultybutnice (whatever), Friday, 3 June 2011 08:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

The live recording of Malcolm's new solo project is really doing it for me at the moment...

Night Nurse with Wound (Jack Battery-Pack), Friday, 3 June 2011 10:56 (seven years ago) Permalink

Really enjoying Aidan's new album (w/ Bill Wells).

reverse the jelly baby of the neutron flow (onimo), Saturday, 4 June 2011 09:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

that live MM thing is kinda fucking unbelievable!! thanks for that

brad whitford, witchfynder general (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Saturday, 4 June 2011 11:12 (seven years ago) Permalink

it's amazing isn't it..... i hope he records a full album of that stuff...

Night Nurse with Wound (Jack Battery-Pack), Saturday, 4 June 2011 12:46 (seven years ago) Permalink

Really enjoying Aidan's new album (w/ Bill Wells).

Not sure I've heard a better song this year than "The Copper Top."

Simon H. Shit (Simon H.), Saturday, 4 June 2011 13:34 (seven years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Really enjoying Aidan's new album (w/ Bill Wells).

― reverse the jelly baby of the neutron flow (onimo), Saturday, June 4, 2011 9:41 AM (2 months ago) Bookmark

Pizzataco Five (admrl), Thursday, 1 September 2011 18:08 (seven years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Arab Strap are reforming for a one-off special gig at Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow on 17th November to celebrate the venue's 20th birthday.

Waiting eagerly to hear if I have tickets...

only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Monday, 7 November 2011 22:34 (seven years ago) Permalink

I got tickets!

They announced the free show on twitter at ~9am yesterday, giving an email address to contact for tickets. Apparently all tickets were gone by 9:30am and the event was oversubscribed by around 900%, so these are rather hot tickets here in Glasgow.

only NWOFHM! is real (krakow), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 09:22 (seven years ago) Permalink

this was outrageously discriminatory against people who go to bed late.

stirmonster, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

anybody got any spares?

harzan, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:24 (seven years ago) Permalink

i saw wells and moffat last week in berlin. quite a short set (about 1 hour) but almost every song sounded like a song i'd already heard before, like a rediscovered classic from the subconsciousness of mankind. they played more or less the whole - pretty short - album and two songs from the ep. the trumpetist was great too, he added that special distant touch à la chet baker.

in the video of the already mentioned phantastic song "the copper top'" it is him in the coffin:

alex in mainhattan, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 22:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

you said that i'm ok but you're just having fun
and we were out with the girls and getting drunk in the sun
i would have tried to talk you 'round but you know I'm not a believer
you noticed my eyes were red but that was just with hay fever

Roberto Spiralli, Wednesday, 24 July 2013 22:08 (five years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

bumping just for "The Copper Top" and also

Jamie_ATP, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:05 (five years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Link with a track:

djh, Thursday, 26 February 2015 21:19 (four years ago) Permalink

that song sounds great. i am intrigued for the follow-up of the debut which was one of my fave albums of the year it came out.

it's the distortion, stupid! (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 7 March 2015 11:40 (four years ago) Permalink


i happen to just listen to 'serenade' yesterday, prob 1 of my fav songs of all time

johnny crunch, Saturday, 7 March 2015 19:48 (four years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Let it be known...

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 11 June 2016 16:26 (two years ago) Permalink

I'd be more excited if their last several albums hadn't been really middling.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Saturday, 11 June 2016 16:27 (two years ago) Permalink

pleased with this. some good stuff on last romance imo

still holding on to slim hope that their label bosses might reform one day too

sktsh, Saturday, 11 June 2016 16:53 (two years ago) Permalink

I'd love a S/D of stuff post Philiphobia

blazed carrot (rip van wanko), Saturday, 11 June 2016 19:55 (two years ago) Permalink

and why were they scared of Philip obv

blazed carrot (rip van wanko), Sunday, 12 June 2016 08:36 (two years ago) Permalink

i think elephant shoe and monday & the hug and pint are just as good if not better than philophobia

rockpalast '82 (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 13 June 2016 17:48 (two years ago) Permalink

got off the bus with Elephant Shoe. Elephant SHIT more like!!!!!1

PaulTMA, Monday, 13 June 2016 20:46 (two years ago) Permalink

Surprised how few Arab Strap albums I own. May have sold them online while drunk or having a "don't like Arab Strap" phase.

djh, Monday, 13 June 2016 21:53 (two years ago) Permalink

I'll always love that their first single was basically a "Good Times" anthem.

Did they continue in that vein?

Mark G, Monday, 13 June 2016 22:30 (two years ago) Permalink


The Nickelbackean Ethics (jim in glasgow), Monday, 13 June 2016 22:38 (two years ago) Permalink

Nothing else they've done reminds me of "first big weekend"!

blazed carrot (rip van wanko), Monday, 13 June 2016 23:03 (two years ago) Permalink

It's on:


Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 June 2016 23:10 (two years ago) Permalink

Listened to 'The Red Thread' and 'Monday at the Hug and Pint' the other night, both are really good. 'The Last Romance' is a bit flat for me but has a couple of decent songs. "Where We've Left Our Love", which ended up on '10 Years of Tears', is better than anything on the album itself.

michaellambert, Monday, 13 June 2016 23:34 (two years ago) Permalink

I suppose I should really give the other albums a go. I was all over Philophobia during my last year of school but the follow up was just dead borin'

Arab Strap fact: there's a locally-printed graphic novel called Big Moff which is a fairly prejudiced take on the life of Aidan Moffat, who in this form walks around entirely nude and tried to pay for items in the newsagent with jobbies.

PaulTMA, Tuesday, 14 June 2016 00:28 (two years ago) Permalink

Nothing else they've done reminds me of "first big weekend"!

― blazed carrot (rip van wanko), Tuesday, 14 June 2016 07:03(9 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Well, there is this of course:

Camaraderie at Arms Length, Tuesday, 14 June 2016 08:26 (two years ago) Permalink


PaulTMA, Wednesday, 15 June 2016 00:06 (two years ago) Permalink

someone told me that the artist behind Big Moff approached Aidan to see if he was OK with and he said something like "aye, it's a fair depiction". This I think was prior to the character filling entire alleyways with faeces

PaulTMA, Wednesday, 15 June 2016 00:08 (two years ago) Permalink

Elephant SHIT more like!!!!!

clever, I guess but also very wrong.

kwhitehead, Wednesday, 15 June 2016 14:55 (two years ago) Permalink

more like elephant shit

ienjoyhotdogs, Wednesday, 15 June 2016 15:01 (two years ago) Permalink


riverine (map), Wednesday, 15 June 2016 15:06 (two years ago) Permalink

listened to Philo again for the first time in maybe 10 years, so so so good

I remember a post from a few years ago someone was lamenting the fact that Other Music was playing Arab Strap in the store, as if that was the lamest thing imaginable. Smh

blazed carrot (rip van wanko), Wednesday, 15 June 2016 21:10 (two years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Weird. Managed to miss that

a) there is an Aidan Moffat film ("Where You're Meant To Be")
b) that it was shown in Oxford
c) that Moffat played live, too.

There are some other screenings coming up:

djh, Monday, 4 July 2016 20:11 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Was at the London show on Thursday and it was simply the best show I ever saw them do. The flow of the set, how rehearsed they were, how much fun they were having... they even made me care about Turbulence, a song I never took to before.

I'd like to think this was a point proven, and it's over for another 5 years and the next anniversary. Something this special shouldn't be devalued.

Horizontal Superman is invulnerable (aldo), Sunday, 16 October 2016 16:52 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Anyone heard Moffat/Hubbert's "Ghost Stories for Christmas"?

djh, Thursday, 6 December 2018 20:53 (five months ago) Permalink

Yeah it’s bloody excellent, immediately bought a ticket for their Manchester Soup Kitchen show, without stopping to realise it’s the night of my work Xmas party. About 50/50 on going atm and that’s turning down a lot of free booze, so you must realise it I is v good.

avoid drinking on an empty liver (fionnland), Thursday, 6 December 2018 20:59 (five months ago) Permalink

ill listen to any old hubby material but haven't heard yet

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 6 December 2018 21:03 (five months ago) Permalink

Is "Only You" typical?

djh, Thursday, 6 December 2018 21:31 (five months ago) Permalink

and yes, fairly typical aye

Your dad's Carlos Boozer and you keep him alive (fionnland), Friday, 14 December 2018 23:36 (five months ago) Permalink

Tonight Aidan jumped off stage to chuck a prick of a heckler out and Hubby joked about fucking the Queen. The music was bloody good too.

Your dad's Carlos Boozer and you keep him alive (fionnland), Friday, 14 December 2018 23:39 (five months ago) Permalink

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