• Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Feb 27, 2001

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Arab Strap mix the stoic, set-permanently-at-dawn folk whispers of last year's Elephant Shoe with the beat-friendly sense of their best early singles: "The First Big Weekend," "(Afternoon) Soaps," "Cherubs." The music sheds its amateur charm for the sound of a band in control of its art and its drum machines.
  2. Like a rainy day, the music is cinematic and pulses with understated energy. The prominent drums, like dance beats on codeine, tick by metronomically -- and their interplay with Moffat's mumbled, half-spoken, too-human voice is already remarkable.
  3. Entertainment Weekly
    Aidan Moffat's bitter tales of messy love and messier sex are wrapped in windy textures and gurgling undertones that obscure his misanthropic tendencies. [3/9/2001, p.83]
  4. Easily its most lushly orchestrated and diverse output yet.
  5. Probably now their most accessible album, as they change things up a lot more than they have with past releases, implementing different sounds in nearly every track.
  6. 80
    Floats, captivates, and repulses simultaneously.
  7. The Wire
    Unremittingly bleak but absolutely compelling. [#204, p.68]
  8. A richer, more confident manifestation of their languid dysfunction than their previous work.
  9. Arab Strap's gradual refinements have hit a peak, but don't expect anything new. Slithery programmed beats, tingly guitars, plodding rhythms, and whispered/warbled sing-speak lead the way yet again, with occasional piano licks and strings thrown in for very good atmospheric measure.
  10. 'The Red Thread' is a frequently beautiful record, as dark and twisted and funny as anything the band have ever produced.
  11. Spin
    They're still tilling the same murky patch, but they're pulling up prettier weeds each time out. [5/2001, p.147]
  12. Yes, then, Arab Strap are a terrific band, with possibilities that seem infinite. Still, I am certain that the songs on The Red Thread could have been better if the group had bypassed its trademark vocal style and actually played along with the lyrics, singing as if something in the lives of its characters were at stake.
  13. But though the music is as good as anything they've ever done, rarely resorting to that downbeat, drunk-in-pub-tells-his-life-story tendency they've too often made their trademark, the lyrics are way below [Aidan] Moffat's usual standard.
  14. The music offers few surprises this go around, relying instead of the tried-and-true guitar arpeggios, atmospheric noises and orchestral, rainy-day crescendos.
  15. This is largely Arab Strap on familiar ground: filmic guitar atmospherics backing an extended bout of post-coital melancholy.
  16. While previous records have consisted almost entirely of a simple guitar/vocals/drum-machine arrangement, this fourth longplayer finds different sonic deployments.
  17. Alternative Press
    Five years later, it's easy to be blasé about [Aidan] Moffat's disgruntled first-person narratives. [#154, p.68]

Awards & Rankings

User Score

No user score yet- Awaiting 2 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. PoPeR
    Sep 3, 2001
    Incredible musical landscapes, great!