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The Third Eye Centre

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Album Review

As one of the intermittent non-LP clearing houses Belle & Sebastian occasionally release, The Third Eye Centre performs a useful service for dedicated fans while offering a roundly enjoyable B&S record for those who don't keep tallies of individual singles. Unlike Push Barman to Open Old Wounds, which rounded up the tight, purposeful EPs of the late '90s and singles of the early days of the new millennium, The Third Eye Centre plays a bit like a warehouse of B-sides. Some of this is due to the handful of remixes scattered throughout the 18-track album — it opens with the Avalanches remix of "I'm a Cuckoo," and mixes of "Your Cover's Blown" and "I Didn't See It Coming" arrive later — as they're within the band's aesthetic yet sonically different. Some of this is also due to Belle & Sebastian cannily crafting their finished albums; everything on 2006's The Life Pursuit and 2010's Write About Love fit perfectly, so what didn't show up on the albums were bound to be strays. And strays they are, as The Third Eye Centre proves, but nearly every individual song offers something worthwhile, whether it's the headlong, swinging rush of "Suicide Girl," the brightly-colored, bespangled blues of "Last Trip," or Stevie Jackson's melancholy ballad "I Took a Long Hard Look." Part of the pleasure is hearing B&S stretch into reggae ("The Eight Station of the Cross Kebab House") or jazz ("Long Black Scarf") or funky country rock ("(I Believe In) Travelin' Light") or frenetic new wave ("Mr. Richard") or swaying doo wop ("Meat and Potatoes"), as each element belongs within their sound; but individually, none of these songs would've fit their respective albums. Taken together, they're still a bit of a mess but the joy in The Third Eye Centre is that it presents Belle & Sebastian at their most human and ungainly.

Customer Reviews

It's not the point!

A lot of these reviewers seem to think that it's their right to have a new B&S album and that this compilation is cheating them out of it… It isn't and it's not.

It's a solid collection of rare songs or remixes (and no, previous reviewer, the I'm a Cuckoo isn't a remake, it's a remix… they are very different things…)

It clearly states that it's an assortment of B-sides and lesser known songs, if that's not what you want then don't buy it, they aren't trying to trick you and it doesn't make it a bad album.

Lost in music

Is that desperation I'm smelling.....

Don't love it

I love Belle and Sebastian, but I don't love this album. The best songs on it are the older ones. A bit rambling. :(

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A band that takes its name from a French children's television series about a boy and his dog would almost have to be precious, and to be sure, Belle & Sebastian are precious. But precious can be a damning word, and Belle & Sebastian don't have the negative qualities that the word connotes: they are private but not insular, pretty but not wimpy; they make gorgeous, delicate melodies sound full-bodied. Led by guitarist/vocalist Stuart Murdoch, the seven-piece band has an intimate, majestic sound that...
Full bio