Saturday, 16 June 2012

Seven Inches of Joy #4 - Arab Strap

Arab Strap - Hey! Fever [Chemikal Underground 1997] - Cat# CHEM017

Ask anyone about the greatest post Britpop British songwriters and I bet you they don't mention Aidan Moffat. If they do, buy them a pint, since that's a person with good taste - a valuable friend that will always make you seem cool by association.

I'm biased I guess, since both me and the wife think Arab Strap are the greatest thing since vegetarian sushi. Moffat is equal parts Len Cohen and Mark E Smith with a dash of Irvine Welsh slung in for good measure. His lyrics read like dirty novellas and his voice is like Guinness, a bit harsh at first but once you get used to it you'll never want for anything else. Great drummer too.

Anyway onto the music which for Arab Strap is just so gloriously upbeat, built as it all is around a locked groove drum pattern and an almost Italian House style piano. Belle & Sebastian's Chris Geddes adds some lovely organ flourishes, and is joined by his band mate Stuart Murdoch who chimes in with the choir that arrives towards the end of the track. Aidan meanwhile sings his vocal as if he's propping up the bar down the local boozer. I can't listen to this without a big dopey grin on my face, it's just such a perfect track. I love the fussy bass line too, especially when it really starts going for it during the end section.

It was cool when we all left together last night,
Half two in the morning, I swear it was light,
You ran off ahead, we brought up the rear,
By the time we arrived, you'd drank all our beer.

Obviously the song title is a play on words of not only hay fever (as mentioned towards the end of the song), but also The Beatles Hey Jude which is referenced in the sing along section at the end. As usual for anything Arab Strap related the sleeve art is great, with each format having a different girl as it's cover star. For the 7" it's Morag Campbell looking like she's having a whale of a time at Pennies Nightclub.

Arab Strap stuff can be picked up easily enough, you really owe it to yourself to do so.

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