Monday, January 08, 2007

Do Belle & Sebastian Songs All Sound The Same?

I picked up a couple of 2006’s most critically acclaimed long players on Saturday for the princely sum of a single British pound. Admittedly, I don’t own these items but the local library in Longlevens allows members to borrow two CDs for the price of one on Saturdays. As a result, I am tapping these words onto my screen while I listen to Neko Case’s Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, a pleasing and tender collection of (I hate the expression) alt-country songs, delivered in a crystal-clear voice. This is only my second playing and I admire it thus far without being as astounded as some of its glowing reviewers would expect. I also hired The Life Pursuit by Belle and Sebastian. This is full of melody and wit and enjoyable numbers but, and I risk being lynched by floral skirt and ironic hairgrip wearing hordes here, a lot of Belle and Sebastian songs do, in my very humble opinion, sound the same. The formula seems to consist of a wibbly-wobbly (I can think of no better word) tune coupled with heaps of singing about the pain and angst of what everyday life must be like for someone who doesn’t have to consider mortgage payments or car insurance and only has to worry about whether its cool or not to enjoy late-period Tallulah Gosh records. The Life Pursuit is a fine record with some outstanding moments. It just seems a wee bit smug. I've been struggling with a virus for the past few days so perhaps cute indie-pop isn't hitting the spot for that reason.


Rose said...

Hi Martin,

No, it isn't just you having this reaction to Belle & Sebastian. Some people I know have positively raved about them (mostly around the time of Dear Catastrophe Waitress) but personally I find them too self-absorbed, knowing and fey - and yes, most of their output does sound the same. For gentle indie/pop I'd rather listen to Magnetic Fields or The Lilac Time :o)

Cole said...

I must seek out Magnetic Fields this year - they sound right up my street. My admiration for the Lilac Time knows no bounds.

Rose said...

Magnetic Fields are excellent - I can recommend 'I' to start with, or '69 Love Songs'.