Review: Jack Foley
GLASWEGIAN indie favourites, Belle and Sebastian, release their
sixth studio album faced with something of a dilemma by their
Two founder members have departed (in the form of Stuart David
and Isobel Campbell) and many music critics were asking whether
the band's days were numbered.
Ironic, then, that Dear Catastrophe Waitress has arrived
on a bigger wave of publicity than ever before, with frontman,
Stuart Murdoch, finally emerging from the shadows, and giving
interviews for the first time.
Perhaps, he felt the time was right to make a stand, or perhaps
his decision stems from a newfound confidence in the music, which
is evident throughout the album.
For Dear Catastrophe Waitress is a really fun listen,
brimming with happy-go-lucky melodies, humour-laden lyrics and
a style which recalls the sun-drenched sound of a bygone era.
In fact, you'd never guess that Belle & Sebastian hail from
Glasgow, given that their sound belongs more on California's West
The album also boasts the presence of producer, Trevor Horn (Tatu,
Frankie Goes to Hollywood and ABC), but anyone expecting a huge
leap away from the established indie formula can rest assured
that the album contains plenty of B&S trademark indulgences.
The Summery hooks are evident from the start, as opening track,
and future single, Step Into My Office, Baby, recalls the
sweet symphonies of the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations, while
title track, Dear Catastrophe Waitress, is a comical interlude,
complete with lazy horn, that tells of a despairing diner, whose
coffee is going cold.
If She Wants Me, conversely, evokes memories of early
Bowie, particularly in its vocal range, while the hopelessly chirpy
I'm A Cuckoo hooks you from the start, with its upbeat
tempo and glorious guitars.
Murdoch takes lead vocal on all but two songs, but even when
he takes a back seat, the album isn't found wanting.
Asleep on a Sunbeam, as its title suggests, is a sultry,
dream-like track, which effortlessly seduces the listener, thanks
to its sweet female vocal (which evokes memories of The Carpenters,
And my personal favourite is Wrapped Up In Books, with
its dual vocals and completely intoxicating chorus, that will
almost certainly have you singing along to it shortly.
In short, this is a feelgood journey through musical nostalgia
that only Belle and Sebastian are capable of providing. Fans will
love it, while newcomers might just be pleasantly surprised enough
to rush out and investigate the back catalogue.
1. Step Into My Office, Baby
2. Dear Catastrophe Waitress
3. If She Wants Me
4. Piazza, New York Catcher
5. Asleep On A Sunbeam
6. I'm A Cuckoo
7. You Don't Send Me
8. Wrapped Up In Books
9. Lord Anthony
10. If You Find Yourself Caught In Love
11. Roy Walker
12. Stay Loose