Arab Strap portrait © Kat Gollack 2021
Today Arab Strap share the new single “Here Comes Comus!” an ode to the debauched night out that Aidan is missing in current times: “It’s a song about the god of nocturnal excess and my inability to ever refuse him. It takes place in a pub, a club, and city alleyways, all the places I’d hoped we’d be able to enjoy again by now – but it’s been so long since I’ve had a big night out that listening to it now seems almost nostalgic. He still pops round to see me at home now and again, but I know he’s holding back and planning for the future, and one day soon we’ll dance again.”
“Here Comes Comus!” is the third single made available from ‘As Days Get Dark’, the highly anticipated first new Arab Strap album in sixteen years. The single release is accompanied by a shocking, violent video that is not for the faint of heart, following a young man on a debauched night out before a fateful encounter leads him into a descent that turns far more sinister and depraved.
Shares director Bryan M. Ferguson: “When I first heard Aidan’s lyrics on the track, my mind was quickly flung into a murky pit of complete debauchery and I really wanted the video to be a story of excess to match not just the lyrics but the whole mythology of Comus being the rebellious god of festivity who pretty much represents anarchy and chaos.” He adds: “I felt the video needed to explore these themes of overindulgence much like the protagonist. I wanted to make the viewer feel dirty and maybe even disgusted at their own enjoyment of the imagery.”
Writer/Editor/Producer/Director: Bryan M. Ferguson
Cinematographer: George Harwood
Steadicam: Ross Elliott
Still Photographer: Marilena Vlachopoulou
Runner: Matt Cairns
Special Thanks: Vari Ferguson
“It’s about hopelessness and darkness,” says Aidan Moffat. “But in a fun way.” The Arab Strap frontman is speaking about the band’s seventh studio album (and their first since 2005’s The Last Romance).
As Days Get Dark is due for release on March 5th, 2021 on Rock Action, announced last November with the 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.” The single’s release was accompanied by an artfully intimate video. Last autumn marked the release of the duo’s first new song in fifteen years, “The Turning of Our Bones” which came with a 7” vinyl release and an eye-catching video utilizing footage from vintage horror films. “The Turning of Our Bones” also appears on As Days Get Dark.
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 eleven 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 drumbeats, 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 f*ck 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.”
Pre-order As Days Get Dark: http://hyperurl.co/AsDaysGetDark
As Days Get Dark – album tracklisting:
- The Turning of Our Bones
2. Another Clockwork Day
3. Compersion Pt. 1
6. Tears on Tour
7. Here Comes Comus!
8. Fable of the Urban Fox
9. I Was Once a Weak Man
11. Just Enough
Autumn 2021 UK & Irish tour dates:
4 September Manchester Academy 2
5 September Dublin Vicar St.
6 September Birmingham The Mill
7 September Bristol SWX
8 September London Electric Ballroom
9 September Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Boiler Shop
10 September Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom