Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2011-05-18

Aidan Moffat used to start albums by singing things like, "It was the biggest cock you'd ever seen, but you've no idea where that cock has been". Bearing this in mind it's surprising to think that Moffat has become something of an old romantic. The first words uttered on new LP Everything's Getting Older illustrate this change in outlook rather well as he sings, "You know that I would love it, it would be such a thrill to kiss new lips…" This latest record sees Moffat collaborate with fellow Scottish musician Bill Wells, who contributed some of his expertise to Arab Straps 2003 album Monday at the Hug & Pint. A collaboration has been on the cards ever since.

Everything's Getting Older is, somewhat unsurprisingly, an album about the passing of time. Moffat is growing up but don't worry, he's not lost his touch. Moffat's lyrics used to sum up those feelings of desperation, lust, betrayal and shame which came with a lifestyle centred on alcohol, confusion and the pursuit of the never-ending weekend. These days Moffat is ever more able to tackle matters-of-the-heart with increasingly sensitive and complex lyricism. There's still a healthy dose of swearing and sexually explicit word-play though. Thank fuck.

'Let's Stop Here' finds Moffat in a contemplative mood as he explains to an old flame that he's fallen in love and settled down since they parted. Moffat struggles with his conscience as well as his feelings over Wells' gentle piano accompaniment. It's a beautiful song. 'Cages' picks up the pace a little with its frantic jazz backing as Moffat sings, "His weekend used to start on Thursday, a quiet-ish night in the pub followed on Friday by a more spirited attempt to forget who he was…" The difference to his Arab Strap days being that it's now happening to someone else.

Wells' experimental lounge-jazz backing at times recalls Nighthawks at the Diner era Tom Waits and serves as the perfect accompaniment to Moffat's muffled confessionals. I say muffled yet Moffat's increasing confidence as a performer shows in his delivery. Moffat no longer sounds like the drunken regular who's trying to offload dodgy pills on naïve students while sleeping with the landlord's wife. Moffat is a man of experience and he carry's it well.

The standout track comes in the form of the wonderfully vicious 'Glasgow Jubilee' as Moffat intones, "We could all be dead tomorrow says the whore to the hero and for handsome squaddies like yourself my fees reduced to zero…" Moffat weaves a complicated narrative around Wells' seedy funk backing as we follow the squaddie in question and various other unsavoury characters through dark city streets. Again, Moffat is watching events unfold from a distance this time round: "The next night he pulls a sweet young thing and fills her full of drink, he says I bet you've had a boy or two, she says less than you might think…"

Other highpoints include the heartbreakingly melancholic 'The Copper Top', where Moffat skips going to a wake after a funeral to be alone with his thoughts in the "nearest pub to the crematorium". There's a tenderness and richness to Moffat's lyrics, perhaps one of the most able and honest lyricists we have.

Everything's Getting Older is a stunning album and if you haven't listened to Aidan John Moffat in a while it'll be even more surprising to listen to these wonderful compositions. Moffat used to sing of hopeless situations yet now he tells us, "...remember we invented love and that's the greatest story ever told". The best thing is you actually believe him.

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