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Arab Strap
Elephant Shoe
label: jet set
released: 06.06.00
our score: 2.5 out of 5.0

From Out of the Scottish Depths
by: peter naldrett

Take one depressed, moaning voice, add a set of unremarkable and repetitive backing tracks and mix carefully with enough swearing to make South Park look like the Sooty Show.

It doesn't exactly seem like a recipe for the greatest album that will be released this year. But, somewhat surprisingly, Elephant Shoe from Scottish loners Arab Strap is a pleasant enough recording that soothes your head as its spoken words and neat little percussion pieces tranquilly attack your ears.

The quiet and brutally frank vocals added by Aiden Moffat are at best shiveringly honest and at worst totally inaudible, but for much of Elephant Shoe that doesn't really matter because the real quality is in the music that drags the words out of the gutter and provides a gorgeously performed support for them.

There is nothing that really ever takes off and smacks of a hit single or a radio-time magnet, but Arab Strap knew that was going to be the case. They are not mainstream and never will be. And if you fancy joining them on a melancholy, depressive trip down the river of emotions, then the highly accessible Elephant Shoe could well be the perfect place to step aboard.