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Malcolm Middleton: Celebrating 'Socks'

Malcolm Middleton's charm is slightly jarring and always memorable, and it's the product of more than just the thick accent. The Scottish musician, formerly a partner in Arab Strap, has been churning out excellent solo albums for a few years, but he hasn't seemed terribly happy about it; the majority of his projects have been melancholic elegies, speaking from the bottom of a deep well of despair. (Look no further than the song "We're All Going to Die.")

But his songs are depressed rather than depressing, and Middleton always manages to put a wry, smart twist on even his darkest moments. His latest album, Waxing Gibbous, finally lets some of that misery melt away, leaving behind gorgeous songs that even border on uplifting.

The rich, celebratory "Red Travellin' Socks" takes an endearing and poetic angle on the typical road-trip anthem. Sure, there are plenty of odes to travelin' shoes, but what about the layer in between? Without comfortable, worn-in socks, the cold functionality of shoes is irrelevant. As Middleton observes, it's the familiarity of socks that's responsible for getting you home.

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Afton Lorraine Woodward