November 2, 2001

Test Spins: Belle & Sebastian

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The ever-expanding Scottish group Belle & Sebastian (currently numbering somewhere around 10 or 11 members) are masters of dense pop music. Their latest 3-song single, a primer for their forthcoming fifth full-length, is yet another lovely slice of whimsical pop.

The title track features a firm piano line, steady but muted drumming, and bursts of high-pitched keyboards. It’s a typically enjoyable “upbeat” B&S tune, contrasting the sad lyrics (which tell of a boy pining over his brother’s girlfriend) with the driving music.

The delightfully-named “Take your Carriage Clock and Shove It” has a deceptively tender melody that disguises its bitter lament on the dehumanizing effects of large corporations. “The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner” is a much-deserved studio treatment of the long-time concert favorite. The jangly guitars are supported by warm bass tones, and the guitar solo break is downright rocky for a B&S album. Overall, a brief but very pleasant teaser from a great band.

Archived article by Ed Howard