Scottish Albums of the Decade #7: Arab Strap - Monday at the Hug and Pint

Feature by Euan Ferguson | 01 Dec 2009

“Enjoy it while you can, because it won’t last long…” So sings Malcolm Middleton over the characteristically resolute backdrop of The Week Never Starts Around Here, one of the standouts on Arab Strap’s second-last album, released in 2003.

We had just started to get used to Aidan and Malcolm as solo artists in their own right, which gave us a slightly gloomy vision of life without them as a band. The album’s title promises a convivial time in the nicest pub in Scotland on that most introspective of days, and it's still remembered as their friendliest work. There are some genuinely warm moments (Who Named the Days, and the plaintive nostalgia of Loch Leven and its bagpipe intro particularly), suggesting the boys had developed a mellower outlook on life, but stabs of vitriol like Fucking Little Bastards remind us who we’re listening to.

Although the album is their highest on our list, it seems the band themselves don’t share the voters’ admiration. “It’s not our best record, but it does have a couple of good songs on it," reflects Malcolm. “I don’t really think about this album much, maybe I should go back and listen to it again.” Such modesty.

(Released: April 2003)