Arab Strap are “back from the grave and ready to rave” with their first new song in 15 years, “The Turning of Our Bones.” The song will also be released as a vinyl single on October 23 with a new b-side titled “The Jumper,” but unfortunately the initial run has already sold out.
Band members Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton say what the new song is about in a statement, “‘The Turning of Our Bones’ is an incantation, a voodoo spell to raise the dead, inspired by the Famadihana ritual of the Malagasy people of Madagascar, in which they dance with the corpses of loved ones; it’s all about resurrection and shagging.”
Back in 2013, Middleton doubted they’d record new music again, saying they “could only write songs of that ilk at a certain age,” but this new track starts with the opening lines “I don’t give a fuck about the past/Our glory days gone by/All I care about right now/Is that wee mole inside your thigh.” They certainly shed the more pessimistic songwriting of their past in favor of an upbeat song featuring ominous guitar riffs, lots of bongos, a passionate saxophone solo and more lyrics about corpses partying.
The accompanying music video is an edit of clips from what appears to be one or more old horror movies matching similar themes to the Famadihana ritual. There’s a lot of people in 70’s-style suits and hairdos running around and shooting guns between all the shots of artificial gore. It’s credited as being edited by Ciaran Lyons of The Forest of Black.
Moffat and Middleton split up Arab Strap in 2006 after their 2005 album The Last Romance. They reformed twice, in 2011 for a one-off show, and in 2016/17 for some festival appearances. NME reported that Moffat told a fan their Reykjavík show in November 2017 may have been their last concert appearance, but it’s yet to be seen whether they’ll stand by that. Asides from this new song, some archival Arab Strap material has officially bubbled out this year, including a lot of demos, instrumentals and live performances.