Arab Strap Mad For Sadness

Fans of the band are doubly blessed at the moment because Jetset, their new label, is also releasing 1999's live album, Mad For Sadness, for the first time in North America. It finds Arab Strap at the peak of their live game, recorded at London's Royal Albert Hall. There's also some unexpected warmth in the performance that has always been lacking in their studio recordings. The songs aren't simple carbon copies of their previously-recorded counterparts - some are reworked into noisy epics (most notably "The Girls Of Summer") that are out of character for a band known for their sparseness. And coupled with what could arguably be called stronger material (focussing mainly on Philophobia), Mad For Sadness is probably a better introduction to the band for new followers. (Jetset)