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Painfully Direct, That's A Good Thing

Arab Strap
(Matador/Chemikal Underground)

I'm convinced that if you've just ended a relationship and would like some music to sympathize with you, this is probably one of the better new discs for that. Created by a Scottish two-some (and a bunch of friends playing backup instruments), this band creates slow music for a dreary, dreary day. Almost every song on the 13-track effort deals with relationships in some way or another, and most of them tend to dwell on bad things that have taken place.

As said before, the instrumentation is very slow on most of the songs, and it will either resonate a chord deep within you or completely bore you. It is an album that needs to be listened to at least 3 times all the way through before some of the more subtle qualities really sink in. Sometimes, the music is sparse, while other times there are quite a few different sounds involved and it sounds quite lush. There isn't a song on the album, however, that would cause even the slightest amount of head-bobbing. The vocals are spoken/sung/whispered in a lazy sort of way and there's a thick accent layed over the top of everything. The lyrics to the songs are as straightforward as they can be short of naming names and it's rather refreshing, even though it tends to be a bit rough and un-rhyming. Instead of trying to catch a chorus in your head, it sounds more like the group is telling a group of stories that you might find some identification with.

Rating: 8