Picks and Pans Review: Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant
Belle & Sebastian (Matador/Jeepster)
Belle & Sebastian are the tea and biscuits of current British pop: sweet, a bit fussy and not terribly filling. Emerging from the Glasgow art-school scene in 1996, the seven-member group offered shimmering, piano-and-strings-soaked songs, a clever alternative to the ale-aided swagger of bands like Oasis. But on this, Belle's fourth U.S. release, what was pretty then now just seems pretty precious. There are some compelling lyrics, with band leader Stuart Murdoch addressing adult concerns (acquaintance rape, for example, in the chilling "The Chalet Lines"). But the band's fragile ensemble sound has always depended on killer hooks and melodies, and, alas, what we're treated to this time around is more like aural chintz—pleasant enough but not all that compelling.
Bottom Line: Lugubrious fare
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