Monday, October 18, 2010

The Triumph of (Muscular) Twee

Today's song, 'I Want The World To Stop,' is from a favorite band of mine, Belle and Sebastian. I've been waiting nearly five years for new music from them, and it was indeed worth the wait. For 14 years, Belle and Sebastian have been plying their trade of intelligent, witty, wistful, melodic, mid-60s-tinged 'twee pop' to the delight of critics and a growing cult fan base and occasional, modest UK commercial success..

Hailing from Glasgow, Belle and Sebastian are a septet led by by Stuart Murdoch, who now 'vastly appreciates' the piano lessons his parents forced him to take as a child. Murdoch's lyrics are subtle and often sexually ambiguous though he's self-described as 'straight to the point of being boring.

Murdoch overcame a long bout of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the mid-1990s and formed the Belle and Sebastian with former member Stuart David at a college music studio and recorded their debut on a shoestring.

The band conquered the critics with their second outing, 'If You're Feeling Sinister,' in 1996, and each subsequent album was endeared them further to both critics and fans. I am latecomer to the group, for me it was their last album, 2006's 'The Life Pursuit,' that won my heart by upgrading the production values, which for me transformed great songs into amazing recorded music.. The result was an album full of memorable singles, the triumph of adding musical muscle to the wise lyrics and pretty melodies...

Here's the video clip for today's song 'I Want The World To Stop,' basically a filmed live studio performance.

Now, a trio of lovely clips and unforgettable songs from the band's aforementioned last outing in 2006. First up, the Motown-esque (in music if not in lyrics) 'Funny Little Frog..'

Next up from 2006, the foot-tapping, oft-hilarious cautionary tale that is 'White Collar Boy'.. you've got egg on your shirt!

I may never visit a laundromat without remembering this third song from 2006, 'The Blues Are Still Blue'..

And now, a taste of the band's less-produced but equally lovely and ingenious pre-2006 sound. Here's 'Step Into My Office Baby..' from 2003's 'Dear Catastrophe Waitress..'

Further back, from 2001, the charming black-and-white clip for a non-album single, 'Jonathan David'..

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