A sweet and subtle melody glazed with simple-yet-spunky lyrical style blossoms into my favorite overseas sensation, Belle and Sebastian. Hailing from Scotland, Belle and Sebastian began their career in 1996 with two albums which fit perfectly into the ’60s pop revival going on in Europe at the time. Belle and Sebastian have also been categorized on a higher level of European pop due to lead guitarist and vocalist Stuart Murdoch’s mesmerizingly pleasant voice. However, the uppity, odd lyrics and concepts of his songs allow Belle and Sebastian to be on a more realistic, grounded level. Belle and Sebastian, whose name hails from a French children’s show, was originally just Murdoch until he stumbled upon the remaining six members: Sarah Martin (violin), Stevie Jackson (guitar), Chris Geddes (keyboards), Stuart David (bass), Richard Colburn (drums), and Isobel Campbell (cello). These seven musicians have released over 15 CDs and singles, including a newly released album, The Life Pursuit which I highly recommend, as I do all of their albums. Perhaps the most notable album for musical majesty would be Dear Catastrophe Waitress.
“Dear Catastrophe Waitress” not only delivers the most positive feel from any Belle & Sebastian album, but it is so poppy and fun that it’s almost show-tuney. This album is without a doubt irresistible.
This album portrays a greater musical side than the more powerful lyrical side of their other records such as “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” which is perhaps Belle & Sebastian’s most popular and well-known album to date. Such tracks as “Step Into My Office, Baby,” “I’m a Cuckoo,” and “If You Find Yourself Caught in Love” are very imaginative and cute. They are fun and extremely musical.
My favorite tracks include the title track, “Dear Catastrophe Waitress,” “Wrapped Up in Books,” and “Stay Loose,” due to their undeniable wit and charm. Another personal favorite would be the soft and romantic invitation to love, “Piazza, New York Catcher.” This song is so adorable that it will drive even the unluciest romantics to fall in love with someone.
I have found it quite difficult to match this album’s perfection with that of any other bands. This album cheers me up when I’m sad and when I listen to it already in a pleasant mood, I just want to reach out and hug somebody. Dear Catastrophe Waitress is a must-have. It’s brilliant! Genius! A masterpiece!
For additional information on Belle & Sebastian themselves, their merchandise, or other albums, you can visit their main website, www.belleandsebastian.co.uk or their sister-site, www.jeepster.co.uk. I would invite you to check them out in concert, but their show at the Electric Factory is sold out! If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a ticket, do not let it go! If you have not yet gotten into Belle & Sebastian, I would say more than any other band, you will not regret becoming a fan. The unique, European-pop flair can only be presented in so many ways, but Belle & Sebastian have mastered this musical art and have officially been written down in my book of music as one of the best bands ever.