Arab Strap announce first album in 16 years ‘As Days Get Dark’

Arab Strap press photo
Photo by Kat Gollack

Arab Strap have announced their first album in 16 years ‘As Days Get Dark’ set for release March 5, 2021 via Rock Action.

“It’s about hopelessness and darkness,” says Aidan Moffat. “But in a fun way.” The Arab Strap frontman is speaking about the band’s 7th studio album and their first since 2005’s ‘The Last Romance’.

With the announcement comes the new single Compersion Pt. 1 – a song that Moffat says “depicts a quest to find the ever-elusive unicorn; to bond fluidly – and safely! – with the like-minded and adventurous, in the comforting arms of an anonymous hotel … and the stark realisation that you never really wanted it.” Listen to Compersion Pt. 1 via YouTube below.

Compersion Pt. 1 follows the single The Turning of Our Bones which they shared earlier this fall with a 7” release and an eye-catching video utilizing footage from vintage horror films. The Turning of Our Bones also appears on ‘As Days Get Dark’ and marked Arab Strap’s first new song in fifteen years.

Despite them being a pinnacle group of the era, Moffat makes it clear that the aim is not to “recapture the ‘90s” but instead 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.” 

Across the 11 tracks, the band have tapped into their core sonic foundations and what made so many people fall for them but also stretched it out into new terrain. The deft mix of post-rock soundscapes, subtle electronics, clicking drum beats, swelling strings and Moffat’s incomparable half-sung, half-spoken vocals are all present, but so too is a variety of new additions from blasts of woozy saxophone to disco grooves and a rich immersive production that plunges you deep into the stories. “We’ve had enough distance from our earlier work to reappraise and dissect the good and bad elements of what we did,” says Malcolm 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”. 

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.” 

‘As Days Get Dark’ is a record that manages to feel like both evolution and revolution: a continuation of what has come before but also a bold leap into the future and as Middleton concludes, “There’s no point getting back together to release mediocrity.”  

Arab Strap As Days Get Dark cover artwork

As Days Get Dark’ track listing

1. The Turning of Our Bones 
2. Another Clockwork Day 
3. Compersion Pt. 1 
4. Bluebird 
5. Kebabylon 
6. Tears on Tour 
7. Here Comes Comus ! 
8. Fable of the Urban Fox 
9. I Was Once a Weak Man 
10. Sleeper 
11. Just Enough 
Arab Strap has also announced a September 2021 UK Headline Tour – tickets are on sale now.

Pre-order ‘As Days Get Dark’:

September UK tour dates

9/4 Manchester Manchester Academy 2 
9/5 Ireland Dublin Vicar St. 
9/6 Birmingham The Mill 
9/7 Bristol SWX 
9/8 London Electric Ballroom 
9/9 Newcastle upon Tyne Boiler Shop 
9/10 Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom

Grab your tickets here.