Scottish group Arab Strap have returned with the foreboding standalone single ‘Aphelion’. Vintage Arab Strap, it’s introspective and ominous and builds up to a crescendo in what is just another stellar example of Arab Strap’s ability to spin brief but comprehensive sonic journeys.
“These two songs were written, recorded and mixed during the sessions for As Days Get Dark but as much we loved them, we couldn’t find a place for them on the final album,” the band’s vocalist Aidan Moffat explained in a statement.
Moffat pondered: “Maybe it’s because they seem to have their own distinct identities, but sometimes a song just sounds better on its own, when it’s not part of a crowd and vying for attention. So, to celebrate the anniversary of the album’s release, we present As Days Get Dark’s two runaway loners; a couple of black sheep who might not click with the rest of the family but, even though they aren’t very happy, are still worth a cuddle.”
Featuring Moffat’s post-modern commentary and Malcolm Middleton’s atmospheric music, ‘Aphelion’ is one of the largest sounding tracks the band have released in a long time. The textures are captivating, and when the guitars kick in at the end, we’re treated to a heady climax. If anything, it’s a shame it’s not a little longer.
‘Aphelion’ and its sister’ Flutter’ will be available via a limited edition coloured 7″ vinyl. The song is also available to stream and a buy as a download now. The EP follows on from the critically lauded record As Days Get Dark, which dropped in March 2021 and was the duo’s first studio album in 16 years.
“This album feels like its own new thing to me,” Moffatt said in the run-up to its release. “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,” said Middleton. “Not many bands get to do this, so it’s great to split up.” After, Moffat jokingly quipped, “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”.
The band will be touring Ireland and playing festivals across the summer.
Arab Strap’s current tour dates:
- 14/07/22 – Empire Music Hall, Belfast
- 15/07/22 – Cyprus Venue, Cork
- 16/07/22 – Dolan’s, Limerick
- 17/07/22 – Whelan’s, Dublin
- 18/07/22 – Whelan’s, Dublin
- 12/08/22 – Way Out West Festival, Sweden
- 13/08/22 – Kulturhuset, Bergen, Norway
Check out the band’s website for more details on the year ahead.
Listen to ‘Aphelion’ below.