You can indeed teach an elderly canine new tricks. Clearly responding with incredible foresight to my criticisms of yesterday, Belle and Sebastian pulled a whole new rabbit out of their dusty headwear with this release back in late-2003.
The band adopt a substantially more upbeat, poppy, and occasionally bliss-filled, approach on this album. Thumping tom-beats drive a few songs into the genuinely danceable domain, and the harmonies are almost Beach-Boys-esque, at least on the opening track.
B&S pull out all stops to engage and excite the listener. There is genuine diversity from track-to-track. There is a strong sense of fun. That opener is built wonderfully around a range of almost single entendres, and the delightful Step Into My Office catchphrase. In my fantasy world the cardie wearers in this band are closet fans of Harland Williams’ Something about Mary performance below and are paying homage to his final line:
Perhaps my favourite B&S tune appears here too – the novella-quality Piazza, New York Catcher, and followed up with the ultra-light I’m a Cuckoo.
The album is not perfect. There is some encroaching dullness as the album drags on…
But bless them for taking risks.
File under: Inventive and intoxicating