Arab Strap - 'As Days Get Dark'

7/10

After building up an incredible reputation for fresh and adventurous compositions during their nineties heyday, Arab Strap came unstuck near the start of the new century and eventually ended in their breakup in 2006. Although the original members Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton found moderate success in their own solo careers, it always felt like a reunion was on the cards and they began to tour together once again in 2016. Now after five years of getting used to each other, they return with 'As Days Get Dark', their first studio album as Arab Strap in 16 years.

From the very start, the pair look to make it known that not much has changed for them sonically. Still venturing down that dark and unconventional path, 'As Days Get Dark' comes across like a Celtic Nick Cave brooding his way through textured and atmospheric lens that best reflects both the pair's subdued direction and our own sense of despair at the state of the world right now. But although there is something intrinsically captivating about the almost spoken word approach on this record, it does sometimes work better than others, giving us a solid but not perfect return.

Arab Strap have always been this seminal moment in modern Scottish music, and it feels right that they should make a comeback now. It almost feels like the world around them finally saw their point of view and began to reflect their own poetic solitude back to them. 'As Days Get Dark' shows that the spark is still firmly alive within both of them, and we can only hope that they keep this going again for many years to come.

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