Monday At The Hug And Pint
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Arab Strap's fourth full length outing sees them continue to explore a myriad of musical styles (not least the bagpipes, which get their first airing on a Strap album) and if Monday is usually a slow night at The Hug And Pint, you'd never know it from the tracks on show here. Thirteen songs segue and lurch from one theme to another: the wistful reverie of Meanwhile, At The Bar, A Drunkard Muses to the pounding vitriol of Fucking Little Bastards; the pedal steel and violin of Act Of War to the folky melancholy of Loch Leven.
Malcolm sings for the first time since Arab Strap's debut with a track that's also called The Week Never Starts Round Here - no doubt re-invigorated since the release of his solo debut a few months earlier. Monday At The Hug And Pint also features contributions from Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, Mogwai's Barry Burns and another insanely prolific Falkirk son, Bill Wells.
Top Customer Reviews
'MONDAY AT THE HUG & PINT"
It would be bad form to write off Arab Strap as just
another musical export in the so-called Scottish
invasion. Like their cohorts, MOGWAI and BELLE &
SEBASTIAN, they write lyrical, melody charged pop
songs with tongue firmly in cheek. Although the Straps
are a bit more mischievous.
Malcolm Middleton and Aiden Moffat are crafty buggers.
After seven years they are misanthropic storytellers
with no shame. Many of their lyrics center around the
world of relationships, good bad and disastrous. They
also write about drug hazes, glom and Scottish
They throw it all at you, cellos, bagpipes, distorted
beats, doors slamming and floods of tears. This is
especially true with their new CD, "Monday At The Hug
& Pint." named after a pub in their native Falkirk,
the album melds all of these things into a well
crafted, but sometimes non-contiguous album.
The album attempts to create the pub feeling. You
enter on a euphoria, then you drink, think, drink,
mingle, talk, mingle and drink some more. Somewhere
along the line you're at the barstool being sad and
miserable, but somehow reveling in it all. Arab Strap
have made a record that is lyrically frank. They are
honest and on point. However after a few rounds, they
begin to spiral into sadness and decay as they banter
on about bastards and evil women.
"The Shy Retirer" encapsulates the euphoria. it is a
brilliant beginning to the album. It features a beat
that slashes calmly along, melded with great hooks and
lyrics. "Meanwhile At The Bar, A drunkard Muses," is
tinged with darkness. It has dark lyrics and weeping
melodies as a backdrop.Read more ›
So anyway, after three albums of that kind of thing, it was apparently time to ramp up the drum machine, and put some work into the backing music, which is more complex and hook-laden than before. The lyrics are still about the usual themes of getting drunk, having sex, and breaking up - and they're just as profane as before - but they're sung this time. That makes this album the most accessible of their career so far, and maybe the best - if not the most groundbreaking. But what the hell, that ground was already broken, and it was time to build. With this album, they've built a really good ground floor. Here's hoping the second storey is as good.
This band have made their underground name by being masteful in expressing their weirdo melancholy through stories of everyday sadness and through very distinct melodies which range from low-fi to experimental rock. Overall, this is a seriously idiosyncratic band, and this whimsiness of theirs has brought forth a few gorgeously moody albums previously.
What's missing then is first of all the bizzarity in the music which comes across rather flat and non-distinguishable compared to what this band is capable of.
Still, if this album is your first point of contact with Arab Strap you might find this LP very worthwhile and pleasant. Pleasant i said? That's the problem. Arab Strap aren't that good when they are "pleasant", even if that means -in this case- more accesible. This however, should in no way discourage you from checking them out as it's obvious that i'm speaking from a -positively- biased point of view.
An added pointer: Arab Strap come under the Chemical Underground label, a label with some very intriguing bands on their roster (usually rock bands with a tendency to experiment). Check out their stuff as well, but other than that be sure to listen to earlier Arab Strap LPs especially the one previous to "Monday at the Hug and Pint"...
Most recent customer reviews
i hated this album. arab strap are great but this album is rubbish. the one star is for the first track, its disco like and alright, the rest is 'pish'. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2004 by disappointed
I have only heard The Red Thread album besides this one, and while I really liked the Red Thread, I found this one a little friendlier and just as good. Read morePublished on May 1 2003 by The Last Person You'd Expect