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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't try and tell me this album ain't pretty, 26 Jun 2003
By 
G. J. Weaver "elweaverino" (Chester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Week Never Starts Round Here (Audio CD)
This is the sound of a young band trying to find themselves, but this leads to a really varied album, with very few tracks missing the mark.
If you know Arab Strap, then you'll know what to expect, only here you'll find rougher edges and more vocals from guitarist Malcolm Middleton.
If you don't know Arab Strap, then this is a "lo-fi" record, for want of a better term. Glossy production values are not high on the agenda. Instead, you get honest, bleak, funny lyrics spoken and whispered over a background of drum machine beats, jagged electric guitar, stomping drums and acoustic strumming in turn.
The album contains tracks such as "First Big Weekend", "Kate Moss", "I work in a Saloon" and "Driving" that still rank amongst the best things that the Strap have produced.
If you looking for a Justin Timberlake record, you're in the wrong place. If you're looking for a record about the way it feels to be sad, to be drunk, to be horny, to really laugh, then step right up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is REAL Britpop, 24 April 2010
By 
This review is from: The Week Never Starts Round Here (Audio CD)
Arab Strap's debut album, released in 1996 was my first introduction to this Scottish band. They were like nothing I ever heard before, a dour Scot (Aidan Moffat) muttering over dark, brooding pop (based around Malcolm Middleton's guitar). Many of the tracks are similar, with barely intelligible music over moody backing. They tend to write about relationships in a very real, visceral way, pulling few punches with some vulgar lyrics and imagery drawn from the gutter.

This album is quite Smog influenced, with vocals spoken rather than sung for the most part. Instrumentation is for the most part sparse, you can hear the scraping of fingers against guitar strings, and rather than lo-fi, barely `fi' at all! The album artwork is equally ramshackle.

The Clearing features crashing drums and a few killer lines ("the things that used to turn me off, I find endearing"). Much of the album is hilarious, intentionally or otherwise. Case in point, I Work in a Saloon - "pulling s**t pints for s**t wages". And there are a few segments with singer Moffat quietly singing a cappella, which are borderline dreadful really. He sounds drunk here, and possibly was for many of these tracks. Especially General Plea To A Girlfriend, where he sings loudly over a basic drum beat, lines like "I can't make boasts about my body, the workmanship is somewhat shoddy" before lapsing into whistling.

The most memorable track here is The First Big Weekend, which does what the title suggests, describing a drunken weekend based around Scotland losing to old enemy England in football. The music reflects the storytelling in the song, as the evening gets livelier, so does the music. The vocals over the album sit somewhere between bitter, cynical and plain old drunk. A prime example of this is penultimate track, Blood. The lyrics are pretty close to the bone, about the horrors of intercourse and infidelity. I won't repeat the lyrics here, but you get the idea.

This is real Britpop. No pointless posturing, this is music with real heart and balls. It's music for sitting in a pub on a dark rainy night.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't try and tell me this album ain't pretty, 26 Jun 2003
By 
G. J. Weaver "elweaverino" (Chester, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Week Never Starts Round Here (Audio CD)
I couldn't agree less with the review posted above/below/whatever. True, this is the sound of a young band trying to find themselves, but this leads to a really varied album, with very few tracks missing the mark.
If you know Arab Strap, then you'll know what to expect, only here you'll find rougher edges and more vocals from guitarist Malcolm Middleton.
If you don't know Arab Strap, then this is a "lo-fi" record, for want of a better term. Glossy production values are not high on the agenda. Instead, you get honest, bleak, funny lyrics spoken and whispered over a background of drum machine beats, jagged electric guitar, stomping drums and acoustic strumming in turn.
The album contains tracks such as "First Big Weekend", "Kate Moss", "I work in a Saloon" and "Driving" that still rank amongst the best things that the Strap have produced.
If you looking for a Justin Timberlake record, you're in the wrong place. If you're looking for a record about the way it feels to be sad, to be drunk, to be horny, to really laugh, then step right up.
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11 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 great songs, 30 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Week Never Starts Round Here (Audio CD)
Most of this album is really, really, really bad. So awful in fact that it makes me feel nauseous just thinking about. It sounds like it was recorded in their parents living room; with a cheap stereo, a guitar which isn't tunned properly and their 3 year old baby brother banging on his potty with a wooden spoon for the drums. Some of the lyrics are worse than your average high school english class, they just make you cringe.
However having said, the album contains perhaps the three most beautiful songs i've heard in my entire life. the Clearing, First Big Weekend Of The Summer and Deeper. I still remember the first time i heard 'first big weekend of the summer', on the John Peel show i was just amazed, (and it usually takes me a good few listens before i like a new band) The lyrics are intelligent, emmotional, spiteful, cruel and personal, the music is weird, sad and creative. Arab Strap don't really borrow from anyone so it's hard to compare them to another band, I guess the closest link would be the Fall. They have a real lazy feel, the guitars and the vocals kinda stumble along I guess they could even be considered a very evil, nasty, ugly verson of Belle and Sebastien.
Buy this album now! but remember to program your CD player to only repeat tracks 2, 8 and 13.
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The Week Never Starts Round Here
The Week Never Starts Round Here by Arab Strap (Audio CD - 1996)
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