Belle and Sebastian: Days of the Bagnold Summer (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Matador) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, October 17th, 2019  

Belle and Sebastian

Days of the Bagnold Summer (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Matador

Oct 01, 2019 Issue #66 - My Favorite Album - Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney Bookmark and Share


Belle and Sebastian's quiveringly earnest brand of indie pop has been the soundtrack of enough coming-of-age moments (both on screen and otherwise) that this, their soundtrack to the titular film Days of the Bagnold Summer, doesn't come as a particular surprise. It's warm, it's lush, and it's pretty unambitious—all the standard trappings of a release like this.

The film, directed by The Inbetweeners alum Simon Bird, tackles the strains summer places on the relationship between single mother Sue, and her thrash metal loving 15-year-old son. What could be a contrived tale of teenage angst, instead becomes something much more empathetically realized. Unsurprisingly, Belle and Sebastian's soundtrack is a big part of this.

Made up of new tracks, a handful of instrumentals, and a few more classic releases—including "Safety Valve," a song bandleader Stuart Murdoch first recorded even before Belle and Sebastian's inception—it's remarkable how well everything fits together. Regardless of how successful you think some of the band's later experimentations have been, they're on strictly old school form here, for better or worse (but mostly for better).

Without the immediate context of the film (which isn't due out until next year), it's not hard to imagine the principal characters simmering with uncalled-for insults and unheard admissions of love. Even if the band might occasionally overemphasize the themes of the film, tracks like "I Know Where the Summer Goes" (a re-recording of a song from 1998's This Is Just a Modern Rock Song EP), with its opening refrain "I know where the summer goes/When you're having no fun/When you're under the thumb," do a lot to elucidate the often frustrating vastness of childhood summers.

Still, a re-recorded version of If You're Feeling Sinister classic "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying" stands comfortably above the rest of the material assembled here. It's only through proximity that such a distinct quality jump becomes discernible, but it reveals a vigour lacking elsewhere. The lyrics are sincere across the board, but there's an interpolation of metaphor and imagery that packs a noticeably more potent punch in "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying." Even with all the original material, you can't help but suspect that this track will be saved for a particularly pivotal sequence. (www.belleandsebastian.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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