A pop album for people who hate pop music
Due to his role in Arab Strap, Malcolm Middleton has forever been tarnished with the ‘miserable bastard’ brush, despite the fact that the now-defunct Glaswegian mumblers could elicit belly-laughs from anyone who bothered to listen to their lyrics. Although this album’s hardly packed with merry japes and wall-to-wall dancefloor burners, you can at least sense a flame of musical optimism in what is his third solo effort. ‘Fight Like The Night’ buzzes with the energy of Sonic Youth going electro, while the final blow-out of ‘Superhero Songwriters’ is resplendent with all the strings and brass of a Broadway musical. The moments of dark introspection still linger in the album’s secluded corners, but overall, ‘A Brighter Beat’ is exactly that.