Arab Strap
Speed Date & Dream Sequence 7"s
/chemikal; 2005-6/


Sometimes I wonder why people get excited over poor releases. Like Belle & Sebastian's latest lp, or Arab Strap's The Last Romance. I really like Arab Strap, it's band that will always be close to my heart as it accompanied me during weird times, but The Last Romance felt stale and pointless. I like my Arab Strap filthy.

Still, I got the 7"s that followed its release. The only song that struck me as great on the lp was "Stink", the amazing short opener, and somehow, thanks to 7"s' magic, I end up liking Dream Sequence and Speed Date quite a lot, once taken out of the album context. Disappointment is relative to expectation.

Dream Sequence is nice with its glorious string parts. The winner is Speed Date though, the 7" version (labeled "filthy", how appropriate) is more explicit than the album version, and Aidan Moffat never sounds better than when he is letting go of his vulgar drunk frustration. The main problem about the record is that Moffat stopped being a glorious drunk man. Now he's more like an old man in slippers smoking a pipe telling us about how messed up he used to be.

B sides are good. "Dead Air" (on the Dream Sequence 7") features a drum machine (another thing The Last Romance lacks) and is the poorer of the three b-sides released so far. "Preface : Set the Scene" (the first of the two Speed Date b sides) should have been The Last Romance's opening track, and i think it would have worked. It features Moffat pondering over his years of drunk passion and bad sex with a new born's eyes.

The highlight is obviously "The Girl I Loved Before I Fucked", an angry old song, in which Moffat finally unveils his vicious and borderline pathetic persona. Lyrics : "and instead of a new platonic future for you and me / i hope you get an abortion or at least an STD". Oh, the relief.

-Barbara H

/march 2006/