Write about what you know they say and it's probably fair to say that Belle and Sebastian know a little bit about love. The Glasgow collective are known for their romantic yearnings and so here devote a whole album to the subject. Fans of Stuart Murdoch's plaintive quiver might be disappointed that there are lots of guest vocals on the album (Norah Jones and actress Carey Mulligan to name but two) but as usual it is full of his gentle wandering melodies and lovelorn lyrical obsessions.
Vinyl LP £15.75 RTRADLP480R
LP on Rough Trade.
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CD £5.99 RTRADCD480
CD on Rough Trade.
They really are a silly bunch aren't they? They have one of the most distinctive singers in the world yet the opener is sung (albeit adeptly) by someone else. Eventually Stuart Murdoch makes an appearance half way through but its too late, the song is reasonably good but it could be anyone. Things don't improve too much by track 2 with its cheesy organ and guitar giving it the feel of a toy band. I was hoping for some pop hits along the lines of 'Step into my Office Baby', some depth, some soul. It all seems a little bit dinky. Even 'I Want the World to Stop' which features their usual Love meets C86 melodies sounds a little trite and lacking in the glorious strings that lovingly smothered past achievements such as 'I'm Waking up to Us'. The title track gives an indication of their recent pop soul achievements and has a chorus inexplicably sung by Pride and Prejudice actress Carey Mulligan. The general rule seems to be:- Belle and Sebastien are much better when playful, raiding 70's glam rock and bubblegum pop as on 'I'm Not Living in the Real World'. 'The Ghost of Rock School' is classic Belle and Sebastien, a lovely wandering melody, haunting vocal (lets pretend to ignore the religious lyrics) and parping trumpets. So a mixed bag really, some really uninspired moments sit along some examples of what can make them so special.
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