Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit (Shock)

 |   |  <1 min read

Belle and Sebastian: Sukie in the Graveyard
Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit (Shock)

This long-running Scottish outfit has had brief flirtations with wider acclaim -- a Mercury Prize nomination in 2004, a year ago voted the Best Scottish Band Ever by their countrymen -- but has never enjoyed more than a devoted cult following.

That’s a pity because their albums offer a bewildering, but beautifully realised, array of styles from Burt Bacharach sophistication to dark indie-rock and pure vacuous-sounding radio pop.

Not that mainman Stuart Murdoch isn’t trying for greater acclaim: for their 03 album Dear Catastrophe Waiter they called in pop producer Trevor Horn, and for this typically quietly persuasive collection they have Supergrass/Beck producer Tony Hoffer presenting their colour chart of styles and mature lyrics in a good light.

White Collar Boy has a smattering of T Rex and early Bowie glam-pop; Sukie in the Graveyard is a jerky indie-pop killer with stabbing guitar and swelling Hammond; horn-punctuated Northern soul drives Funny Little Frog; Mornington Crescent is a slow alt.country ballad where Ray Davies’ social observation is combined with personal disillusion; and so on.

There are the customary B&S flat spots (notably the lame To Be Myself) and seven albums in it’s unlikely they will ever be massive, but this is further evidence of why their knowing, intellectual and cleverly considered  music from a small corner of the pop pantheon deserves wider appreciation.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: Come Together, Black America sings Lennon and McCartney (Ace)

Various Artists: Come Together, Black America sings Lennon and McCartney (Ace)

Although their peers like the Rolling Stones, the Downliner Sect and Pretty Things were more profoundly influenced by black American music, the Beatles certainly drew on that deep well. In... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Matador)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Matador)

The solo projects and collaborations of Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth) have certainly covered a lot of musical landscapes from visceral guitar noise to . . . Well, to this which is mostly... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JOHN PSATHAS INTERVIEWED (2000): Rattle of a complex man

JOHN PSATHAS INTERVIEWED (2000): Rattle of a complex man

After John Psathas won best classical album of 1999 at the New Zealand Music Awards in March, nothing happened. No arts writers called wanting to profile this prolific composer, sales of the... > Read more

Mixed Culture: Movement in Roots/Moving in Dub (Jah Youth)

Mixed Culture: Movement in Roots/Moving in Dub (Jah Youth)

No sentient being could doubt the global reach of reggae which we have essayed previously . . . but it is rarely better evidenced than the existence of this double CD: one disc of the rootsy... > Read more