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About Arab Strap


Arab Strap are a Scottish indie rock band whose core members are Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton. The band were signed to independent record label Chemikal Underground, split in 2006 and reformed in 2016. The band signed to Rock Action Records in 2020.


Vocalist and drummer Aidan Moffat and multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Middleton grew up in Falkirk, Scotland, and bonded over their mutual love for Drag City recording artists such as Will Oldham and Smog. They began collaborating in 1995, and their debut album, The Week Never Starts Round Here, was released the following year. At this point Gary Miller and David Gow joined the band and became the rhythm section, creating a more dynamic live experience when the band started touring.


Over the course of their ten-year existence Arab Strap worked with numerous musicians, including Jenny Reeve and Stacey Sievewright, as well as Adele Bethel, who went on to form Sons and Daughters. Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian featured on the album Philophobia, but the Belle & Sebastian album/song "The Boy with the Arab Strap" would later create something of a feud between Moffat and Murdoch.


Arab Strap's marked characteristics include sordid, personal, yet honest, lyrics – described by the NME as "fly on the duvet vignettes". Like fellow Scottish band The Proclaimers, their lyrics are sung in their native Scots tongue. At first essentially an electro-acoustic band with a brooding, spare sound, later albums and gigs saw them develop a fuller sound that drew deeply on both indie and dance music.


Arab Strap's first two albums, The Week Never Starts Around Here and Philophobia , depicted the desperate decadence of post-Thatcherite Britain. The former album's "The First Big Weekend", a five-minute piece of drunken mayhem that end with a joyous singalong, "Went out for a weekend, lasted forever / Got high with our friends, it's officially summer," which was later also used as the chorus to "Hey!Fever," one of the tracks on the EP The Girls of Summer the following year. The 1999 live album, Mad for Sadness, demonstrated how the sometimes spare recorded sound of their early music could lift into a celebration of a sexually empty, drug- and alcohol-dependent life. After these albums, Arab Strap's music became much more musically polished, but continued to focus on drink, drugs, and existentially bereft versions of sexuality.


In keeping with the theme of sexual allusion, Moffat records as a solo artist under the name Lucky Pierre – slang for the man in the middle of a gay threesome. This work is also characterised by a brooding, spare sound, but is instrumental in nature. Middleton also has a solo career under his own name, releasing two albums with Chemikal Underground and three more via Full Time Hobby Records.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Arab Strap", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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