You either get Arab Strap or you don't. No amount of words is gonna make someone like the Scottish band if they don't already. However, these two handsome deluxe edition reissues just might do the trick.
I mean, let's not mince words: on the live tracks Arab Strap sound like a fully functioning live unit. When I first heard these records some 12 years ago or so, they sounded like bedsit projects.
I don't mean that in a bad way but both Philophobia and The Week Never Starts Round Here are decidedly lo-fi affairs. There's no getting around that.
Okay, so assuming you are reading this because you like the band, I'll give you the breakdown on the bonus tracks on these new editions.
As iTunes and Amazon sometimes don't give full details on the extra cuts on some of these deluxe edition reissues, I'm going to rely on the press release put out by Chemikal Underground as it might help someone make a decision whether to buy these for the bonus bits or not.
On The Week Never Starts Round Here bonus disc, you've got the band's first 4-song John Peel Session from March 1997 and a 9-song set from King Tut's Wah Wah Hut recorded in October 1996.
On the bonus disc with Philophobia, you've got the band's second 4-song John Peel Session from March 1998, as well as 6 songs from the band's performance at T In The Park from 1998; this is the best stuff, really.
The versions of songs "Girls of Summer" and "Afterwards" are just emotional and moving and I started to hear the band in a new way, strange as that might sound now given that I've been listening to them for 13 years off-and-on already.
You can buy the download of The Week Never Starts Round Here via iTunes in the US here.
You can buy the download of Philophobia via iTunes in the US here.
Or on Amazon.com here and here, respectively.