Arab Strap

Arab Strap, Scotland's answer to Leonard Cohen, has spun a web of unhappy relationships and bitter regrets for nearly a decade. But the band's music has evolved dramatically from the slow, churning sparks of its initial releases to The Last Romance, which presents full-bore rock numbers alongside that early sound. The most attractive songs on the disc are those faster numbers, because Aidan Moffatt's vocals provide such an interesting juxtaposition, especially on "Dream Sequence," where Moffatt sings over bleary, rollicking instrumentation: "Give me your gibberish tonight/And talk to me with your eyes shut/Make me giggle when you're asleep/And I can dream that you're a slut." Less amusing are the sadcore numbers ("Come Around and Love Me"), which paint a sonic landscape with the same muted colors inherent in his voice, making for songs with plenty of dark ruminations and little warmth.


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