Album Cover
Arab Strap
Monday at the Hug & Pint
April 21, 2003


Arab Strap, in previous albums, has set themselves apart from the other British-Isle style bands with a semi-ambient dance-funk brand of Western European indie-rock. The Red Thread and Elephant Shoe, two of their earlier albums, both having a generally similar sound, based mostly in strong synthetic beat-box rhythms and faint guitar/violin/piano melodies. Monday at the Hug & Pint has all these basic themes as well, but an added bit of the standard Brit-pop feel to go along with it. Nonetheless, there are still a few tracks guaranteed to get your toe tapping.

No doubt influenced greatly by their fellow homeland associates, Mogwai, they seemed to have taken another step into a more ambient progression rock, which I'd normally consider a good thing, but in this case it starts to detract from the overall Arab Strap appeal, which came mostly from their slight added bit-o'-funk. To start off the album they did throw in a nice familiar sound with "The Shy Retirer." Probably the most up-beat and "funky" track of the whole album. "Serenade" also has this usual Arab Strap feel, but that's about it. The rest are mostly what I'd consider "Mogwai gone '90s Brit-pop," such as "Act of War," "Loch Leven" and "Flirt."

They do work in some really nice tracks, though, being "Fucking Little Bastards" and "The Week Never Starts Round Here." Both very different tracks, yet both quite good.

Overall, still a very decent album, but not quite the same sound you may be used to from this Scottish duo. It's a step towards something possibly better, but it doesn't quite make it. If you're already a fan, though, it might upset you at first, but do not fret, it gets better the more you listen to it. Not greatly, but to a considerably decent stance. I suggest a different album, though, to those who are not familiar with this band already. Either of the two I mentioned before would do.

Zeff Svoboda

Track List

  1. The Shy Retirer
  2. Meanwhile, At the Bar, A Drunkard Muses
  3. Fucking Little Bastards
  4. Peep-Peep
  5. Flirt
  6. Who Named the Days?
  7. Loch Leven Intro
  8. Loch Leven
  9. Glue
  10. Act of War
  11. Serenade
  12. The Week Never Starts Round Here
  13. Pica Luna