Scottish duo Arab Strap haven’t been absent since their last album (2005’s The Last Romance), but Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton have both been fully focused on solo work. Now conjoined once again, the duo have revealed that they’re going to release new album called As Days Get Dark on March 5 through Rock Action.
Of the new album, Moffat says “It’s about hopelessness and darkness… But in a fun way,” – well, just like every other Arab Strap album then! Going further, he says: “This album feels like its own new thing to me. It’s definitely Arab Strap, but an older and wiser one, and quite probably a better one.”
The first taste of the older, wiser and better Arab Strap comes from lead single “Compersion, Pt. 1”, which does indeed move the partnership’s sound into the modern day with some contemporary production choices, most notably in the little percussive hits. But the age is perhaps most noticeable in the aged, aching lyricism, which seems to have matured into a more subtle but rich form of their signature sardonicism. The title “Compersion, Pt. 1” is telling, ‘compersion’ being the opposite of jealousy, the joy of seeing someone else in love – something we’ve never, ever expected Arab Strap to display, and they certainly don’t do that here, even if they’d like to tell themselves they are, as they watch flirtatious people all around with silent judgement. “Compersion, Pt. 1” still the Arab Strap we know and love, just aged like a fine wine – and we can’t wait to crack open As Days Get Dark, come March.
Listen to “Compersion, Pt. 1” below or on streamers. Scroll down to see the UK tour they’ve announced for September, too.