After 16 years without a new studio album, Scottish group Arab Strap have announced the impending release of As Days Get Dark, their seventh record to date.
In what will be officially labelled as the follow up to 2015 effort The Last Romance, the band are tapping into their inner soul but doing so with a look to the future and, according to Aidan Moffat, this is not an attempt to “recapture the 90s”.
“It’s about hopelessness and darkness,” says Aidan Moffat. “But in a fun way.” The Arab Strap frontman is determined to continue the band’s strong and unrivalled creativity. While it would be easy to fall back on old techniques, Arab Strap have pushed to create a distinctly new album, with new tools, sounds and a forward-moving sense of exploration. “This album feels like its own new thing to me,” he says. “It’s definitely Arab Strap, but an older and wiser one, and quite probably a better one.”
“We’ve had enough distance from our earlier work to reappraise and dissect the good and bad elements of what we did,” says bandmate Middleton. “Not many bands get to do this, so it’s great to split up.” Whilst Moffat jokingly says “we’re still doing what we always do: Malcolm gives me some guitar parts then I’ll fuck about with them and put some drum machines and words over the top”.
For the new project, the band reconnected with producer Paul Savage, with just the three of them in the studio, as it was the very first time around. “Paul brings comfort and trust,” says Middleton, “And a sense of continuity.” Savage’s light touch approach, combined with the band’s evolved craft, has created a potent production that brings out the best in the duo. “I’ve never been interested in making slick records,” says Moffat. “But the new stuff sounds much fuller, brighter and better because we actually know what we’re doing. I think for a long time we didn’t know how to express what we wanted in a studio.”
If Arab Strap fans still had any doubts, Middleton concluded in emphatic fashion: “There’s no point getting back together to release mediocrity.”
Listen to the new single ‘Compersion Pt. 1’, below.