Belle and Sebastian. A band I have liked for many years has recently developed into love as I understand them a little better. Yes they are whimsical to a point but they have more substance and ideas (and band members) to create magical songs every time they make an album. From “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” to “The Blues are Still Blue” Murdoch, Jackson and Martins vocals wrap the listener up with harmony and wonderfully elusive lyrics. “Piazza, New York Catcher” is simple with vocals and guitar being the only instruments used (unlike “Step Into My Office, Baby” which has a fully fledged orchestra). What I like most about “New York Catcher” is how it epitomises Belle and Sebastian’s sound and lyrical work in the simplest way.
“The Boy with the Arab Strap” is equally compelling with hand claps and an earlier sound to the band (it being the third of their eight albums). “Another Sunny Day” gathers speed with the electric guitar and a distinct and succinct 60’s feel to it.
There are a million(ish) songs I could go on about because since 1996 Belle and Sebastian have been making music but basically, what I like most about them (other than they named themselves after that French cartoon) is that they are versatile and relevant as ever. They could bring out an album in another 10 years and it would still be a piece of wonderful and ‘folksy’ work. They are magic.
Talking of new loves is a band of another whimsical nature. Los Campesinos are possibly on of the best bands I have seen this year with their mixture of male/female vocalists and all-band dance routines. And they were touring with Sky Larkin and You Say Party We Say Die (two other amazing bands).
An enigmatic front man (with an apparently Justine Frischmann-esque haircut although I couldn’t see that myself) and a menagerie of musical instruments creates a fusion on stage that translates to the audience too. Covering “Frontwards” by Pavement they put their own unique twist of happiness on it. The music blends seamlessly with the lyrics which are on their own works of art. Basically, I couldn’t praise this band enough and hopefully they’ll get all the praise and awards and stuff they deserve. Get your glockenspiels and violins at the ready
Reading back it seems I like bands which have many members, many instruments involved and lyrics that make little sense… 4 piece indie bands are so 2004 dah-ling. (Jokes) (not really)
Belle and Sebastian- Piazza, New York Catcher.