By Malcolm Middleton
From the stark opening line of the album 'We're All Going To Die' you instantly form the impression that this album might not be as positive as the title would have you believe.
Recorded in Glasgow with producer Tony Doogan (of Mogwai and Belle & Sebastian fame) A Brighter Beat is the former Arab Strap member and self-confessed depressive Malcolm Middleton's third solo album.
The subject of death probably haunts a good number of us at some stage of our short existence, only I guess the majority dismiss the subject altogether (healthily adopting a more positive outlook). For those that do worry about death, you might actually take a sense of comfort from seeing this incredibly taboo subject getting an airing. Despite Mr Middleton's dejected ramblings, I wouldn't call A Brighter Beat a negative record; often he casts a down to earth view of his own miserable attitude towards life, almost poking fun at himself.
To expand on the positive note further, musically there is a huge amount of contrast on display, where upbeat pop arrangements intertwine with the depressingly honest yet occasionally humorous lyric writing. The best example of this dissimilarity is delivered in the fantastic opener 'were all going to die' which is strangely upbeat, almost carrying a bewildering celebratory feel. Other highpoints include the extremely radio-friendly 'A Brighter Beat' with its sweet picked guitar arrangement, the candidly romantic 'Fuck It I Love You' and finally, the sorrowful 'Stay Close Sit Tight'.
Though the sombre subject matter may alienate many, A Brighter Beat is beautifully melodic record, often frenetic, buoyant and dare I say it... fun.