Review of The Last Romance Album by Arab Strap

Arab Strap
The Last Romance
Album Review

Arab Strap The Last Romance Album

The sixth studio album from Scots Aidan and Malcolm and it's pretty much what you'd expect. It's apparent from the opening track – Stink – that their pre-occupations are still with the grimly realistic, dirty details of everyday life and love. Chat in Amsterdam, Winter 2003 is a strangely compelling track with a heavily accented, almost spoken vocal and screeching, distorted guitars. It's as thudding and grey as a hangover on a February morning, but has the distinction of being the only song I know that mentions Trisha.

The album then immediately springs to life with some jangly guitar and breathy singing with 'Don't Ask Me to Dance'. The vibe here is more laid back than miserable and the song has that Arab Strap intimacy – almost as if the words are extracts from a diary being whispered into your ear. 'Speed-Date' sounds cheerful enough but its description of 'ugly tattooed swingers' ensures the album stays firmly grounded in murky bars and backrooms. Full of emotional twists and turns and set against a bleak musical landscape, loyal fans will surely not be disappointed.

Sharon Edge

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