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Album Review: The Most Important Place in the World by Bill Wells
Excellent, Based on 4 Critics
Drowned In Sound - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Few would disagree with the assertion that, on their 2011 collaborative debut Everything’s Getting Older, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat sounded like they were born to work together. The former’s subtle, but impressively varied, compositions were a perfect fit for the latter’s restless, distinctively embittered words and voice. Most importantly of all, the album displayed a kind of elegiac beauty that perfectly fitted its title and, on the record’s most powerful moments, made it deeply affecting.
2011’s unsung marvel Everything’s Getting Older saw former Arab Strap chanteur Aidan Moffat and composer Bill Wells cataloguing the grimy process of aging with black humour and no little grace; Moffat’s distinctive burr proved an inspired fit with Wells’ bittersweet, jazzy piano-led arrangements. This follow-up sees the unavoidable pang of mortality still very much on Moffat’s agenda (see the wildly entertaining rant The Unseen Man: “You’re just another fat drunk dad in trainers, who likes a pint and hates buying clothes”), though this time his scope is a little broader. Moffat celebrates and mythologises the late-night British city in all its desperate, seedy glory.
The second studio long-player from Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap) and multi-instrumentalist and composer Bill Wells, the Glasgow-centric Most Important Place in the World takes its title from an IKEA slogan, and is, according to Moffat, "a salute to the city and the secrets she hides; its ticking clocks and dirty dishes; its raising the devil on old equipment. It’s about the life we want versus the life we need –- and deciding which is which. " Listeners who fell under the dark spell of 2011's acclaimed Everything's Getting Older, which took home the inaugural Scottish Album of the Year Award, will find that little has changed in Moffat and Wells' noirish, red light district-imbued version of the U.
Ahead of the release of second album The Most Important Place In The World singer Aidan Moffat talked about how the record was “a song for the city and the secrets she hides” and while the subject of urban living is explored in greater depth than before it also successfully reprises and extends themes established on debut album Everything’s Getting Older. Arguably, the most noticeable progression on The Most Important Place In The World manifests itself musically, namely in the broader range of styles and sounds that are incorporated into the album. On first impression it is these musically distinct tracks that stand out.