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

Dodson and Fogg: Walk On (wisdomtwinsbooks)

Dodson and Fogg: Walk On (wisdomtwinsbooks)

Imagine this if you will: A world where Marc Bolan wasn't killed in 1977 when his car hit a tree. That instead he took time out, trimmed down, cleaned up and left London for some more benign... > Read more

Lotus Mason: Lotus Mason (Glowb)

Lotus Mason: Lotus Mason (Glowb)

London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Blair Jollands (interviewed in 2004 here) is one of New Zealand's best-kept expat secrets. With his band El Hula he crafted some of the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

POP TO POPISM (2014): The cultural shift in contemporary art

POP TO POPISM (2014): The cultural shift in contemporary art

In the early Sixties just before the Beatles conquered America through a combination of art, smarts and image – and shifted the coordinates of popular culture to Britain – America... > Read more

Various: Belly Dance (Think Global)

Various: Belly Dance (Think Global)

Okay, okay. A belly dance album doesn't quite shake my tree either -- but put aside your preconceptions and what's here is a very good sampler of Arabic music from big names like Hossan Ramzy, the... > Read more