End of the road for Arab Strap
The party's over
Falkirk’s finest musical hedonists spilt after a glorious ten years of tears. Words: Andrew Borthwick
‘Then on Friday night we went through to the Arches . . . There was only one car going, so some of us had to get the train. We got through quite late. Then we went to a pub to take the gear. There were no problems getting in - we saw some others waiting down the front of the queue so we skipped in. It was a good night, everyone was nutted and I ended up dancing with some blonde girl. I thought she had been quite pretty until last night when Matthew informed me that she had, in fact, been a pig.’ The First Big Weekend, Arab Strap.
And with those words began a ten-year love affair between the Scottish music scene and Arab Strap. A love affair which has come to an amicable end as the Falkirk duo have announced their decision to disband, ten years to the month that saw the release of their single, ‘The First Big Weekend’.
While the single made a name for the band - it holds the record for being the most consecutively played record on Radio 1’s Evening Session - they were far from one-hit-wonders. Although they would never impact on the mainstream in a similar manner again, the group retained a dedicated following and critical respect over their duration.
A folk band with a punk spirit (their name was taken from a sex toy), Aidan Moffat (vocals) and Malcolm Middleton (guitars) could be hugely provocative, as well as deeply personal. Their lyrics not only acknowledged the ugly side of love ?" the dirty sheets, the dirty pints and the dirty minds - but openly embraced it.
Although the pair will no longer work together, Moffat will continue to record under his L Pierre guise, while Middleton will focus on his solo work. Moffat simply stated: ‘There’s no animosity, no drama. We simply feel we’ve run our course.’
A farewell compilation album entitled, Ten Years of Tears, consisting of live recordings, B-sides and radio sessions, is to be released by Chemikal Underground on 27 November with a tour in December with their final show at the same place they made their debut, King Tut’s.
Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh Fri 1 Dec, King Tut’s, Glasgow, Sun 3 & 4 Dec.