Arab Strap The Red Thread

Arab Strap's first three albums were creepy accounts of bad sex, bad girlfriends and bad hangovers. The problem with the band was their lack of effort in making the music. Time and time again it was the same guitar chords and the same drum (machine) beat. And now, after some record label troubles, the band have reverted back to their original label, Chemikal Underground, to release The Red Thread, without a doubt their best album. This time around, Arab Strap has mastered the "listenable" album, something that is both experimental and interesting. The Red Thread not only continues Aidan Moffatt's tales of knavery, but shows an improvement in the musicianship of Malcolm Middleton. Gone are the endless Slint-esque guitars, replaced with lush orchestral arrangements, a tear-jerking ballad, ambient use of effects pedals and a closing tune that sounds like it is a remix away from becoming a gay dance anthem. (Matador)