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Arab Strap - I'm Totally Fine With It Don't Give A Fuck Anymore (Album Review)

Thursday, 16 May 2024 Written by Jo Higgs

During their initial run between 1995 and 2006 much of Arab Strap’s appeal relied on the sense of messy fun found in both the lives the band wrote about and the medium through which they were communicated. Since their reunion in 2019 it’s become clear that the duo have grown up, and yet they haven’t misplaced that spark.

Long gone are the comical anecdotes that reek of booze and youthful exuberance or stupidity, but 2021’s superb ‘As Days Get Dark’ and their latest release ‘I'm Totally Fine With It 👍 Don’t Give A Fuck Anymore 👍’ brim with energy and fun in their own (slightly) more mature way. 

Allatonceness is a bass-heavy track that drags the darker corners of the internet through the dirt, before Aidan Moffat offers a contrast by delving into his love of real-world experiences.

Comically, this is communicated as: “I want to strip by a stream / Feel my balls on the breeze.”

On Bliss, as with much of the record, Arab Strap are at their danciest. The drum machines are crisper than before, the synths are more pronounced, but elsewhere they find a middle ground with the sounds that drove their previous record. Hide Your Fires is one such moment, and also a track with one of the greatest choruses found anywhere in the Falkirk duo’s discography. 

Moffat has a tendency to be overtly negative in a comical way, but he’s never truly hateful. It’s an aspect of his writing that comes to the fore on the LP’s final track, Turn Off The Light, a crushing, sympathetic portrayal of conspiracy theorists. As they navigate Malcom Middleton’s blend of electronic and acoustic instruments, they aren’t dismissive, instead finding lost individuals searching for hope. 

The striking album cover, with a text notification popping up over a classical painting, ties a lot of the project together: the meeting of old and new, sometimes jarring and sometimes gelling. Arab Strap will always be an acquired taste, but anyone who loved ‘As Days Get Dark’ will find something similarly engaging about its successor.

Arab Strap Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Mon May 20 2024 - CARLISLE Brickyard
Tue May 21 2024 - SUNDERLAND Fire Station
Wed May 22 2024 - BIRMINGHAM Castle and Falcon
Thu May 23 2024 - BRISTOL Lantern Hall
Fri May 24 2024 - LONDON KOKO
Sat May 25 2024 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Sun May 26 2024 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Wed September 11 2024 - BELFAST Empire Music Hall
Thu September 12 2024 - LIMERICK Dolans Warehouse
Fri September 13 2024 - GALWAY Roisin Dubh
Sat September 14 2024 - DUBLIN Whelans
Mon September 16 2024 - ST ANDREWS Byre Theatre
Tue September 17 2024 - ABERDEEN Lemon Tree
Wed September 18 2024 - EDINBURGH La Belle Angele
Thu September 19 2024 - DUMFRIES Venue
Fri September 20 2024 - GALASHIELS MacArts
Sat September 21 2024 - GLASGOW Barrowland Ballroom

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