Arab Strap singer and philophobe Aidan Moffat makes a good case for the sanity behind his fear of love and romance. These 13 chronologically linked "songs" are performed more like spoken word that only falls short of poetry between a few distracting singsong rhymes. Outside of that, this confessional work is pure throbbing loneliness, reaching out helplessly and compulsively for the poison vial that holds love and its inextricable suffering.

Moffat is accompanied by piano, cello, trumpet, organ and violin. The music's grace combined with the calm agony in his voice makes otherwise sexually explicit content seem like real life again. Instead of the Penthouse Letters one might fear or anticipate after the opening line: "It was the biggest cock you'd ever seen . . ." Moffat unfolds the story of one life, of many lives. There is no more dirt here than heart -- if you can separate the two.

Norene Cashen writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].