Belle & Sebastian: Stuart Murdoch, Stevie Jackson (vocals, guitar); Isobel Campbell (vocals, cello); Sarah Martin (violin); Mick Cooke (trumpet, bass); Chris Geddes (keyboards); Richard Colburn (percussion).
Additional personnel: Greg Lawson, Cheryl Crockett, Alistair Savage, Elin Edwards, Liza Webb, Murray Ferguson, Clare McKeown, Lorna Leitch, Dervilagh Cooper (violin); Helen McSherry, Peter Nicholson (cello); Paul Fox (flute); Jenny Divers (saxophone); Ronan Breslin (trombone); Gary Grochla (double bass); Francis MacDonald, Alistair Cooke, Jonny Quinn (percussion).
For their fourth and most cleverly titled album, Glasgow's fey folk-popsters Belle & Sebastian have constructed another 11 songs that at times reach into new musical and lyrical areas. Following secondary composer Stuart David's departure, de facto leader Stuart Murdoch divides the songwriting chores among the other members; yet what's apparent is the single-mindedness of Belle & Sebastian's song focus.
The overall mood is even softer and more precious (if that can be believed) than their previous efforts. Murdoch and Chris Geddes' "Don't Leave The Light On Baby" is the band's attempt at a '70s soul ballad, a Wurlitzer adding a Music-of-My-Mind vibe to a lovers' dissertation. Isobel Campbell's "Beyond The Sunrise" is biblical Celtic-prog-folk, all flutes and acoustic guitar, while Jackson's own "The Wrong Girl" is an upbeat, country-ish lament with typically soulful Belle & Sebastian strings and trumpet giving the song an understated melodic kick. Of course, Murdoch contributes a classic or two--"I Fought a War" is a gentle away-at-the-battlefield tale imbued with the greatest sense of dread Murdoch's ever given a song. And "Woman's Realm" is the kind of pop stomper ARAB STRAP was packed to the gills with, highlighted here by its increasingly quiet surroundings.
- RSD Release Date: n/a
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Pop
- Released: 10/07/2014