Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat – The Most Important Place In The World – Album Review


Album Review: Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat – The Most Important Place In The World – Review by Killian Laher

Everybody’s favourite Scottish miserabilists Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat (ex Arab Strap) return with their second collaboration. For those familiar with their last, or Moffat’s former band, there is much to enjoy here. Opening track On The Motorway begins with the sound of a car indicator, which evolves into a darkly humorous piano ballad. After the brief VHS-C the album throws up something of a misstep with the abrasive, irritating Lock Up Your Lambs with its repeated, insistent refrain of ‘”raise him up”.

The album feels more thoughtful, more mature than Arab Strap days, perhaps its the presence of some muted brass over Moffat’s cutting lyrics on This Dark Desire (“watch how she keeps their lies alive as they run through her veins”) and he sounds almost reflective on piano ballad The Tangle of Us. Any Other Mirror picks up the pace, the track is powered by a mechanised bossa-nova beat, preventing the album from dragging itself down a maudlin hole. The Unseen Man sees Moffat unleash some vintage descriptive prose – “they’re all scuffed knees and glistening skin and shoes that were never meant for walking home” and on and on it goes to delightfully acerbic effect. Later, The Eleven Year Glitch is another lurid tale – “the stripper slinks around the stag, the best man chops a line.” Not an album for the easily offended.

The album is nothing if not varied, the slow-burning jazzy Vanilla ramps up the tension to a tale of routine lovemaking but this is followed by the almost singalong Street Pastor Colloquy, 3AM, where Moffat sings properly, accompanied by the Glad Café Community Choir. Towards the end of the album, Far From Me indulges in a little navel gazing (“I’m grey and tired and uninspired when I’m far from you”), and We’re Still Here is touching in parts (“the jewelers’ lost its sparkle now… but we’re still here). But the bottom line is Aidan Moffat, ably supported by Bill Wells, is still dealing in unadorned, real life stories full of details that cut to the bone. He’s just drinking in bars for older people these days.

The full album can be heard on the Guardian’s Website here.

On The Motorway:


1. On The Motorway
2. VHS-C
3. Lock Up Your Lambs
4. This Dark Desire
5. The Tangle of Us
6. Any Other Mirror
7. The Unseen Man
8. Vanilla
9. Street Pastor Colloquy, 3AM
10. The Eleven Year Glitch
11. Far From You
12. We’re Still Here

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