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Arab Strap - The Last Romance

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Artist: Arab Strap

Album: The Last Romance

Label: Transdreamer

Review date: Apr. 4, 2006

Time weighs heavily on the Arab Strap, the way it tends to on people who have passed 30 and think that that makes them old (you silly young things!). Having a band that’s been around a decade not only makes them more reflective, but more extravagant; they’ve pulled out the stops and put real drums on nearly every track, added strings and horns to several others, and given everything the sort of sonic boost that only well-heeled post-production can buy. Malcolm Middleton’s electric and bass guitars have never sounded so big, and they’re better that way. But the Arab Strap will always rise or fall by Aidan Moffat’s lyrics, delivered as always in a spreadably thick Scottish brogue. “Confessions of a Big Brother” lays it all out. Speaking to a young man who is indulging all the laddish sexual shenanigans that Moffat so graphically chronicled on previous efforts, Moffat is filled with ambivalence, jealousy, and even rue. Fortunately monogamy and contentment haven’t clouded his eye for lurid detail; love’s on his mind, but noisy sex is on his lips in “Come Round and Love Me.” But just in case you miss the point, there’s a sweet violin to underscore his croon – ole Aid’s in lurv and ready to settle down. “There Is No Ending’s” jubilant horns herald his burgeoning adoration for the possible mother of his children and current filler of his jellying belly. I’m happy for the guy, and glad that the band’s willing to mature, but I’m a bit nervous about what lies ahead. Do we really want to hear the Arab Strap chronicling their offspring’s toilet antics in the same uncompromising language that they’ve reserved for cheap sex?

By Bill Meyer

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