Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – The Most Important Place In The World
It’s twenty years since Arab Strap first enabled Aidan Moffat to demonstrate his talent for extracting sage poetry from the seediest of situations, providing a cracked mirror to the parochial cocaine jauntiness of London-centric Britpop. The band have long since disintegrated, but that pervy barfly eye still finds grace in decay, and this second collaboration with wandering muse Bill Wells is particularly reflective.
With Moffat providing the narrative, it’s easy to see this as a lyricist’s record, but to do so would be a gross injustice to Wells. No mere foil, his jazz-inflected crescendos adroitly frame the boozey ranting of The Unseen Man’s squalid flâneur; likewise the pounding tension of Lock Up Your Lambs feels thrillingly, dangerously volatile. Best are the moments of bruised tenderness, however: “I feel awkward, fat and grey / In any other mirror but you,” sighs the singer against simple piano chords, and in that moment, all this battered wisdom feels beautifully hard-earned. Just magnificent.