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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Elephant Shoe
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£12.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 7 October 2000
The first I heard of this particular album was through the excellent "Cherubs" ep. I rushed straight out and purchased "Elephant Shoe", expecting to hear pure genius issuing forth from my speakers, and I wasn't disappointed. It's been said that no British band since Joy Division have been able to make truly depressing music, but Arab Strap have definitely broken the mould with this one. From the faux techno beats on the opening "Cherubs" to the mellow final chords of "Hello Daylight", Arab Strap take the listener on a laid back musical journey through modern relationships, and the pitfalls thereof; and it's wonderful. Everyone can relate to the lyrics (ranging from jealousy ("One Four Seven One") to shared, enjoyed holidays ("Tanned")), and the music is more accessible than the brilliant "Philophobia", but no less fantastic. Buy this album now. You won't regret it.
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on 27 June 2010
Falkirk's finest lightened up a bit on 1999's Elephant Shoe, though what this really meant was replacing their customary bitterness with a stoic acceptance of `domesticity'. This album is unfairly criticised for being too commercial, perhaps a legacy of their move from indie label Chemikal Underground to Go! Discs. I have no idea where this idea came from as the lyrics deal with their usual preoccupations of drinking and relationships, though maybe it's a little subtler (ie. cleaner) than previous albums.

Opening track Cherubs starts with a dull, cheesey beat which makes you think you're listening to 90s Euro-dance hell but it's merely the backdrop for a sort of comedown anthem, as they say "the walls breathe." We're back on more familiar territory with One Four Seven One, featuring some Malcolm Middleton's quite beautiful guitar and Aidan Moffat's lyrics leaving little to the imagination.

There is less emphasis on the reassuringly vulgar lyrics on this album, allowing the music more room to inhabit the space and fill the room. There are some lovely touches here and there, a prime example is some incongruous banjo on Pyjamas (key lyric: "do you really need pyjamas in this heat"). Later, Direction of a Strong Man features some suffocating Mogwai-like music, which overshadows the lyrics. Tanned on the other hand is almost like 80s lounge, featuring breezy horns and percussion, dancing dangerously close to Sade territory!

Aries the Ram features some poignant piano at its midpoint, as it delivers the devastating lyrics "I was a virgin, you were on holiday, I'd had 7 glasses when she asked me to stay". The tension is barely lifted on Pro (Your) Life, as the music is all exposed nerve endings and lyrics dealing with termination. Finally a little sunlight creeps in with Hello Daylight, as the a plaintively plucked guitar starts off the song, Moffat singing (yes, singing!) "I sprained my arm for you". It must be love.
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on 12 February 2003
I was inspired when I first heard aiden's voice when he featured on the Riendeer section's Son of Evil Riendeer album, it was so different, meloncolny yet abrassive and the lyrics where so down to earth it was surreal, intrieging and, supisingly, funny. I instantly brought the first arab strap album i saw- elephant shoe-and i have never regreted it. Aiden's voice and lyrics, again, did not dissapoint but the other greaT thing behing arab strap is Malcom Middleton. He provides the music. It is soft and wailing at times (pro(your)life) and harsh and catchy at others (cherubs). It is minimalist so as not to clash with the low mumblings of aiden but it is still incredibly effective. If you were a crazy fool you would ignore this review, if you are no crazy fool however, go out and spend your money!
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