But Arab Strap, up there with the best of miserabilists, do not leave the listener in a state of despair longing for oblivion; one comes away from this album with an uplifting feeling; similar to the way a good cry or shout can make you feel so much better.
The album as a whole is rather like a metaphysical poem from the likes of John Donne or George Herbert.
It takes the listener on an intense emotional journey; often deeply personal (to the point where the listener can feel quite uncomfortable, voyeuristic even), always adult (this is not the emo-styled teen angst) and managing to avoid sliding into sentimentality or slush.
Occasionally it seems that Moffat is so pent up, so insular, so bottled-up that he can hardly finish the line or word he's uttering; but when the brake is taken off Arab Strap can really wig out, and the release comes with great cathartic effect; the fact that it doesn't happen very often - and when it does it is often brief and explosive - makes it even more effective.
Arab Strap - Elephant Shoe (1999)
One Four Seven One
Leave the Day Free
Direction of Strong Man
Aries the Ram
The Drinking Eye
Pro- (your) life
Immaculate cassette rip @320kbs
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If you'd like to know how it all panned out for Arab Strap, and what they got up to in 2005: go here