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Belle and Sebastian

It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career


Dec 09, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Eighteen years. That’s how long Scotland’s most whimsical indie ensemble Belle and Sebastian has been around. For a band that’s barely scratched the mainstream surface, it’s some achievement, especially as Stuart Murdoch’s wistful troupe still look a long way off from calling it quits.

This reissue of their entire back catalogue provides a timely opportunity to assess the band’s staying power. Of course, the most immediate attractions come from the band’s late ‘90s stanzas. Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister still charm the heart with their coy, bookish charmsparticularly the mesmerizing “Judy and the Dream of Horses.”

Within The Boy With the Arab Strap exists the first morsel of commercial desire, or at least more blossoming arrangements. And by the time the needle settles on the bulbous The Life Pursuit the more polished sound of the band’s current incarnation had evolved.

If anything, these reissues are worth it to revisit the early EPs found on Push Barman to Open Old Wounds. “Dog On Wheels” and “This is Just a Modern Rock Song” are as gorgeous and simple as contemporary songwriting gets. Let’s hope the next 18 years prove just as fruitful. (

Author rating: 8/10

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