AOTY 2021
Arab Strap - As Days Get Dark
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2021 Ratings: #47 / 666
User Score
Based on 525 ratings
2021 Ratings: #232
Liked by 44 people
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Arts Desk

What lingers of the album is not its horrors, but its humanity – reflected, after all, in even the debauched temptations of the god of nighttime revels.

90
PopMatters

Arab Strap's comeback album 'As Days Get Dark' stirs fond memories while making a quantum leap forward.

90
musicOMH

As Days Get Dark is a remarkable return, a new Arab Strap that updates, deepens and re-energises their sound.

90
Clash

Maturity doesn’t mean mediocrity. It’s turned their focus widescreen, though the beady eye doesn’t spare its glee for the gory details. It’s just bigger, in every way. Musically, texturally, lyrically.

90
Louder Than War

It’s a deeply immersive album from beginning-to-end; like a good book, it’s almost impossible to put As Days Get Dark down once you’ve started.

90
God Is in the TV

As Days Get Dark is a brilliant, complex return.

90
Spectrum Culture
Scotland’s greatest exporters of sadcore return after a 16-year break-up with an irresistibly strong and delightfully maudlin comeback album that stands tall as one of their greatest works yet.
81
Beats Per Minute

They sound so comfortable together on As Days Get Dark that the album is an endorsement for reunions only occurring when there is true renewal of purpose and vision.

80
Mojo

Their first new album in over 15 years sees the reactivated Falkirk duo older and wiser raving against the dying of the light.

80
Uncut

Marrying post-rock, folk and electronic beats, complete with poetic tales of love, death and sex, the album captures life’s pendulum swing between beauty and bleakness.

80
Record Collector

Filthy, funny, affecting, Arab Strap sound like a band with a future again.

80
Exclaim!

For a band as hardboiled as Arab Strap, As Days Get Dark is nonetheless a love letter to the brave, ambitious nature the band has built their audience upon. The swings are bigger, the misses are broader, the hits are even more rewarding.

80
Gigwise

It begs you to dive into its murky waters headfirst and peer at what lays beneath this puddle of gloom, and see the album for what it really is: a triumphant and true return to self.

80
NME

With lyrics that encompass the reality of ageing with all its wisdom and regrets, and with music that employs the deftness of touch that can only come with long-term honing, Arab Strap have delivered their defining record.

80
DIY

The vivid, often lurid portraits he paints of the society around him feel more vital than ever, as does his ability to navigate them with a grim chuckle.

80
Under The Radar

As Days Get Dark carries on their traditions of intimate ambience and tug-of-war technique, but commendably, it doesn’t seek to summarize so much as add to their inimitable story.

80
The Observer

The caustic duo forge existential stories from tinny beats on their first album in 16 years.

80
Pitchfork

On their first album in 16 years, the Scottish duo situates themselves in the current moment, teasing out new modes of songwriting while remaining as wry, dark, and self-lacerating as ever.

80
AllMusic

As Days Get Dark arrives 16 years after its predecessor, but even after all that time off, the record seethes with the grimy intensity Arab Strap captured in their earliest peaks.

70
Loud and Quiet

There’s little here which will surprise long-term Arab Strap fans, but that’s not necessarily a criticism.

70
Northern Transmissions
It’s not always an easy listen but a rewarding one for anyone lured in by the prospect of “hopelessness and darkness but in a fun way”.
60
The Skinny

It’s symptomatic of a problem that afflicts a fair few songs on the record, a sense that a couple of perfectly good ideas never quite coalesce into properly great songs. It leaves an album of strong moments and passages that unfortunately often disappear far too quickly.

JacksonLerner
82
arab strap returns with some darkwave. the cure’s ‘disintegration’ meets the presentation of nick cave and the bad seeds’ music. the result is both soft and gloomy, a distinct combination.

arab strap really went for it on this album. ‘as days get dark’ truly captures the sound of a bright day turning dark as nightfall descends. it has got the mysterious quality of a fortune teller’s office. the horror-like feel is outstanding.

the music feels dry, ... read more
Tristan
30
Well, this was a pleasant surprise!
This is the first time I've heard a release from Arab Strap, and it will definitely not be the last. I became quite interested in this album when I saw it tagged with "slowcore" which is a genre I've just recently started to get into. I also noticed that this is the band's first LP release in almost 16 years, so naturally, that is very intriguing.

I find this record to be a good return from Arab Strap, and has helped put them back onto the map ... read more
zachthesnack
85
Arab Straps first album in over a decade and a half is arguably their best.

I am such a sucker for this dark melancholic shit. The album feels like a slow burn, it made me feel kind of numb in the best way possible honestly.

The tinges of jazz throughout the record really give it an extra layer of depth and the production on this record is immaculate throughout. The slow, sinister vocal delivery contrasts with the sarcastic lyrics and gives you this feeling of numb bliss whilst listening. It ... read more
AndreVital
85
Muddy Morality
Sardonic Self-Immolation
Polluted Poetry

"As Days Get Dark"

I've been casually enjoying Arab Strap's back catalogue for a while now, but for some reason I missed the lead singles for this new album, which is their first in 16 years!!!

Somehow, someway, the Scottish duo of Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat have only grown as artists through this immense break. "As Days Get Dark" is pretty much the culmination of all the work they had been putting out ... read more
Doofy
87
The first impressive comeback of 2021, this isn't just a winning return for Arab Strap (though this is their most consistent release since established career peak, 1998's 'Philophobia'), it also represents an upturn from the recent Moffat solo projects which had started to dip after the excellent 'The Most Important Place in the World'.

There's not a weak track here and better still the pacing from song to song is perfectly judged, effortlessly switching between leading with those trademark ... read more
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Year End Lists

#9/Gigwise
#18/The Quietus
#23/Louder Than War
#36/Uncut
#44/MOJO
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Added on: November 24, 2020