7 January 2017

What Arab Strap Meant To Me.

Choose bitterness. Choose love gone wrong. Choose melancholy at 3am. Choose heartbreak. Choose social realism. Choose the fundamental conflict of what you want and what you find. Choose adultery, infidelity and shameful truth. Choose the unflinching honesty that defines your own fuck-ups. Choose pornography. Choose post-coital vulnerability. Choose inner conflict. Choose a fury for revenge that runs bone deep. Choose hopeless love affairs, Choose jealousy. Choose being broken. Choose strangers. Choose dying a million times. Choose being up all night crying over someone who had no trouble falling asleep. Choose venom. Choose unrequited love. Choose the worst of you. Choose the best of you. Choose being more profound than any heart could dare understand. Choose falling in love. Choose apathy. Choose mutual apathy. Choose blind perseverance, Choose stolen glances. Choose cutting out your tongue to stop a name ever coming up in conversation. Choose Aidan Moffat. Choose Malcolm Middleton, Choose Arab Strap.

The detailed insight was always poetic, In its brutal honesty we took comfort. The nod to the everyday man on the street...always. Nobody could untangle, decipher and narrate the cloying intricacies of human emotion quite like Arab Strap. They wrote anguished symphonies for every post-drug comedown, every wet eyed public bar loser, every broken hearted council estate Romeo and every disenfranchised street urchin, Aidan Moffat the impeccable wordsmith and storyteller weaving it all seamlessly into the narrative, Malcolm Middleton the gifted composer. That pissed off despair, the hangovers, the comedowns, the vitriol....all side effects of intrinsic motivation...and we know this because we are no different. Arab Strap never sang about heroin addiction. They weren't some Irvine Welsh soundtrack.. they lived the same lives we did. The same recreational habits...the same losses and the same victories. Every melodramatic hate opera dictated by nihilistic philosophies...wanting to kill your love rival and escape the realities that intimidate you.A million poetic metaphors to define you...and an orchestra of trippy/lo-fi minimalistic weirdo nothing/ everything layers of sound to serenade you.

In no particular order....5 of their greatest songs you need to hear before you die.

Dream Sequence
'And now I love you more than that, and now I love you more than this
So just stay over on your side, and go to sleep and dream of piss
Tomorrow you can tell me all the things you've done with boys
Blushing as you recount tales to satisfy my see-through ploys'

The Shy Retirer
'These people are your friends
this cunted circus never ends.
 I won't remember anything you say'

Here We Go
'And I don't doubt you wouldn't touch him now
But let's face it, you always used to go for that kind
And if you ever really wanted two men at once
All I'm saying is I better be one of the guys you've got in mind

Love Detective
'I don't know
I suppose I've had my doubts for a while there's been
Hushed phone calls virtually every night
Her friends stop talking when I come in the room
They look at each other, and I don't know
It's just a feelin'

Fucking Little Bastards
'I used to think they loved me, now I know it's pity
And they know that they can always flee this fucking city'
Arab Strap formed in Falkirk in 1995 and released six studio albums before splitting up 11 years later...playing their final gig in Japan in December 2006. They reformed briefly last year for a series of reunion shows to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album The Week Never Starts Around Here. A double album of singles and rareities was released in September alongside a special re-worked version of their first single The First Big Weekend. Both on the Chemikal Underground label.

Written by Alan Baillie

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