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Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress - Sanctuary Records

The Scottish indie-pop band Belle & Sebastian have been critic’s darlings and since the mid-Nineties have released a handful of adventurous, whimsical albums influenced by folk-rock and 60’s pop. Led by guitarist and vocalist Stuart Murdoch, roots of Belle & Sebastian’s “twee-pop” can be traced back to the jangly-pop punk of The Smiths, The Go-Betweens, Orange Juice, and the enigmatic British singer/songwriter Felt. Today, Belle & Sebastian’s colleagues include bands like Stereolab, the High Llamas, Elliot Smith (RIP), even Nashville’s eccentric Lambchop.

The key to Belle & Sebastian’s popularity lies in Murdoch’s ability to write intimate, highly melodic songs with interesting lyrics that tell stories in surreal ways. Additionally, the band often includes up to eight members that offer a musical richness and depth which goes beyond the standard two guitars-bass/drum setup.

Dear Catastrophe Waitress is the richest of all B&S records to date. Helping the band out on the album is producer Trevor Horn, the man responsible for working with the likes of Yes, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ABC (Remember “Poison Arrow?”), and the Art of Noise. The collaboration works wonders as Horn undoubtedly played to Belle & Sebastian’s strengths - melody and arrangement - as Murdoch is in top form as a songwriting form on songs like “If She Wants Me,” “Wrapped Up In Books,” and “Step Into My Office, Baby.” Overall, one of the most literate and engaging releases of late 2003.

Written by Bruce Warren

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