You're standing at the bus stop in the cold, waiting for the Number 29 and smoking a cigarette, when a tramp comes up to you and asks for a spare fag. You're feeling generous so you give him one, and quick as a flash he sparks it up, takes a great swig from his can of Frosty Jacks and launches into a lyrical but scattergun story about his love life.
You roll your eyes at first and think “great”, but after being hit with his profane stories for 40 minutes (imagine the bus is very late) you've actually kind of enjoyed yourself. This album is like that.
When you put the CD in, Aidan John Moffat reminds you that you need to read the attached short story in the sleeve notes – subtitled_ Poop_ - before listening to the album - subtitled Loop. The record itself then veers this way and that, but essentially it's him breathily talking about a love affair and, like, ‘feelings’. Anyone who's ever cheated on a partner or fallen out of love will be familiar with the low level, every-night filth Moffat speaks of, and the juxtaposition between tenderness and affection, guilt and loathing.
But where his Arab Strap co-conspirator Malcolm Middleton has gone for an uplifting, almost pop vibe with his solo material, Moffat's own stuff is decidedly introverted and revels in its weirdness. He cuts up his portions of poetry with minimal beats, scratchy noises and nocturnal jazz soundscapes - this trick is bizarrely evocative of Chris Morris' _Blue Jam _radio show from the 1990s, where the unspeakable was spoken over a background of Warp artists' tracks.
It's dark stuff, but there's black humour in there, too._ "We were talking about music and records, but every song you played me was shite / Then you got upset when I fell asleep halfway through that dreadful film that you insisted we rent last night,"_ he wittily moans on ‘Nothing In Common’.
I Can Hear Your Heart is very lo-fi save for ‘I'm Not Bitter’ - which does sound like an Arab Strap tribute. It's also archly dirty throughout, with chat about cunts and cocks and fucking. There's even the interlude – ‘All The Love You Need’ - where Moffat reads an unrelated satirical poem about prejudice dripping with every racial insult under the sun, spoken in shocking fucking full.
But despite this shock factor, there's also a degree of sweetness too, which lifts the album into different territory. As Moffat comments on ‘The Boy That You Love’, a tender ode to a girl with a broken heart:_ "Did you make a mistake, give in to your lust and prove yet again you're not someone to trust. Did you think about begging and pleading and kneeling? If so, I think I might know how you're feeling."_
7Chris Beanland's Score