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61) Belle & Sebastian The Boy With The Arab Strap

In the mid to late 90’s I lived in Hyndland in Glasgow and was told that Belle & Sebastian practised in the parish church that was about ten minutes from where I lived. I used to stay on the bus an extra stop some nights and walk past in the hope I would hear music coming out of there and would accidently wander in on them practising. Years later I learned that lead singer Stuart Murdoch worked there as a caretaker and lived in the flat so he must have written songs there, doesn’t matter, I never heard or saw him.

This pointless story is me saying I took an interest in them from an early stage and bought this album, their third, on release.

It Could Have Been A Brilliant Career opens the record perfectly, Murdoch singing gently over minimal music before Isobel Campbell joins him. Their voices are prefect together, the band lost something when she left.

Next up is Sleep the Clock Around which has a beautiful trumpet that is replaced by bagpipes that surprisingly works well.

Seymour Stein is for lying back on the couch and letting the song wash over you and Space Boy Dream is spoken word from bassist Stuart David and a brilliant musical ending. Dirty Dream Number Two bounds along with punchy drums, Campbell breaks it up with spoken word and then joins in, magical.

Many will know the title track from Channel 4s Teachers, its catchy but lightweight and the band take us out quietly on The Rollercoaster Ride.

If only the rehearsing in Hyndland had been true.


GIVE IT A STREAM: Dirty Dream Number Two

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