"Monday at the Hug and Pint" is arguably Arab Strap's best album to date. It combines the lo-fi eclecticism of their first album, with the great sonic leaps forward made on their last long player "The Red Thread". Both permanent members of the band, Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton, have released solo albums since "The Red Thread", and the time apart to stretch and experiment has obviously done them some good. The song "The Week Never Starts Around Here" is very reminiscient of the stuff on Malcolm's superb album "5:14.....", and that's no bad thing.
There is also the addition of a string section on a lot of the tracks here, which lifts the proceedings onto another level entirely.
As always, the lyrics have the usual grim humour about them. The opening track "The Shy Retirer" begins like a cheesy dance track, but switches into a scathing description of the monotony of the average weekend. "Another bloated disco", moans Aidan, "another sniff of romance I'll forget." Other stand out tracks include the soporific waltz "Who named the days?", and bagpipe layered folkie "Loch Leven".
The Strap's philosophy seems to be that if we are all in the gutter, then lets get hammered, talk about girls and give the v's behind the back of anyone poncing around staring at the stars. And, y'know, it makes such perfect sense.