Album review – Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat


Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat -‘Everything’s Getting Older.’ (Chemikal Underground)

I’m starting to lose track of how many projects Aidan Moffat has done since Arab Strap cheerfully called time, nearly five years ago now. In a way, he’s rather like Darren Hayman who also appeared round about the same time fronting Hefner, relishing sticking out like sore thumbs at the time of Britpop and having a slew of prolific releases over the next fifteen years.

This collaboration is with legendary jazz man Bill Wells. Wells and Moffat first met when Wells contributed to Arab Strap’s penultimate album Monday At the Hug And Pint, in 2003. Moffat and Wells decided that they’d like to work together, and although recording sessions actually began not long after, the album has taken eight years to come into being. I think when you hear it you’ll think it has been worth the wait.

‘Cages’ is like ‘The First Big Weekend’ fifteen years on. Only instead of living it up in Glasgow and Falkirk, the protagonist is dealing with the crushing mundanity of life, signing off with the resigned ‘Freedom’s overrated anyway.’ ‘Ballad Of the bastard’ is just that – a man who knows he is forever destined to cheat on his partner, and is actually starting to despise himself for it. ‘The Copper Top’ is the drunken reflections of someone who has skipped off to the pub becuase they can’t face a wake, and ends up pondering the significance of his new suit in all this: ‘Birth, love and death; the only three reasons to get dressed up.’ The spectacularly edgy ‘Dinner Time’ tells the story of a boy who goes back to the house he used to live in, and has a nose around…what happens when he ruins into the new owner and catches her by surprise is only hinted at…

Of course, it is a collaboration album, and the album owes just as much to Bill Wells as it does to Aidan Moffat. It’s beautifully scored and just as amazing in its’ own right. And if the word ‘Jazz’ tends to freak you out…well, maybe that says more about you and your prejudices than anything else, frankly. Let’s just say, though that if you’ve enjoyed Herbie Hancock’s music (think more Blow Up than ‘Rockit’) and the scores of Bernard Hermann (Psycho, Taxi Driver etc..) then you might well enjoy this more than you think.

In all seriousness, this might well be the most accomplished album of Aidan Moffat’s career. When will he write his novel? And with both Zoey Van Goey and Found’s albums already out, this looks set to be a fantastic year for the mighty Chemikal Underground.


Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat -‘A Short Song To the Moon.’ mp3