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Belle and Sebastian - Push Barman To Open Old Wounds

Their debut EP’s title track ‘Dog On Wheels’ paints a scenery which pining absent love sits upon; featuring brass sections and ‘la la la’ interludes to enhance the way.

Twee. It’s twee. Happy? Now that’s out of the way we can get on with things. Playful introspective self-referential looks at love and life are stock in trade for Belle and Sebastian; their first compilation pulls together all the EPs released whilst signed to the Jeepster label and with so as many non-album tracks worthy of inclusion there is a decade’s worth or history to include.

Their debut EP’s title track ‘Dog On Wheels’ paints a scenery which pining absent love sits upon; featuring brass sections and ‘la la la’ interludes to enhance the way; but it’s Stuart Murdoch’s distinctive, slightly forced, vocal style which adds weight to the emotion portrayed through songs such as the confessional ‘The State I Am In’ and the delicate heart string tugs of ‘Beautiful’.

‘This Is Just A Modern Rock Song’ and ‘Slow Graffiti’ play out at an almost inaudibly low level forcing the listener to pay attention and be drawn in to B&S’ world of intricately crafted downhearted melodies which twist and weave through minimalist to enhanced orchestral dalliances.

Though not solely based upon dour flavoured tunes their playful pop loving nature shines through with the 60s hooks and breezy nature on ‘Legal Man’ while ‘Jonathan David’’s dual vocal interplay crafts a tale of unrequited love. ‘A Century Of Fakers’ and ‘Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie’ have the requisite summery feel to constitute classic pop of any era and roll forward with a determination that many could label B&S of lacking. Drifting from the sublime to the potential ridiculous on ‘I Love My Car’ with it’s cat/rat rhyme and the Arab Strap style narrative of ‘A Century Of Elvis’.

A double CD with as many stand out tracks as ‘Push Barman To Open Old Wounds’ will fit in any record collection, though Belle and Sebastian fans by their nature will most likely already own all these tracks - everyone else however should own this. As good an introduction to a band that can sell out shows around the world yet still go to Tesco’s unrecognised as there can be. It is twee; but whoever said that was a bad thing?

Tags: Belle and Sebastian, Reviews, Album Reviews

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