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- Fold Your Hands Child by Belle and Sebastian
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8/10 Laney Customer review, 4th February 2015
Belle And Sebastian's fourth album took a critical pasting on release back in 2000. Whether this was to do with their ongoing change in outlook, moving ever further away from Stuart Murdoch as sole songwriter and giving the knockers something new to hate, or it was just their turn in the stocks I don't know. But I've always liked 'Fold Your Hands...' and I think it's worn well over the years.
Murdoch's own songs remain as funny and moving as ever; 'Nice Day For A Sulk', with it's lulling demeanour and swooping melody, still glides along beautifully; opener 'I Fought In A War' is steeped in loss and melancholy, going beyond 'the bedsit infamy' of earlier records, though it's arguable that Murdoch doesn't make a very convincing soldier; 'Woman's Realm' is cut from from the same cloths as half a dozen B+S songs stretching back to 'String Bean Jean', but still feels energetic and endearing with it's roaring brass and thumping two/four chorus. But perhaps the real writing find is violinist Sarah Martin, who's 'Waiting For The Moon To Rise' steals the show, all dreamy harpsichord and gentle minor key inflections until the organ and tambourine give it a thrilling urgency at the close, mirroring the line of being 'like the spring and the winter and the morning'.
On the minus side, plodding campfire dirge 'Beyond The Sunrise' fails to take off, and Murdoch's finely tuned sense of the classic album form stretches for the first time (but not the last) to throwing in a stinker second from the end, in the shape of Isobel Campbell's instantly forgettable 'Family Tree'. But 'Fold Your Hands...' is far more than it's detractors would have you believe, by turns heartbreaking and genuinely thrilling, and deserves a far better reputation than that of the runt of the litter.
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