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Push Barman to Open Old Wounds

Belle and Sebastian

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Album Review

Belle & Sebastian never felt tied down to the album as the ultimate expression of a band's worth. Put simply, they didn't feel the need to hold back their best songs for albums; the fourth song on a four-song EP was just as likely to be among their finest as any other. For proof check out Push Barman to Open New Wounds, a handy compilation of the group's EPs recorded between 1997 and 2001 for Jeepster and Matador. Beginning with "Dog on Wheels" all the way through, the band used its EPs as means of exploring new sounds and angles (check the groovy '60s spy song "Legal Man," the epic in length and scope "This Is Just a Modern Love Song," the bubbly sunshine pop of "I Love My Car," or the silly instrumental "Judy Is a Dick Slap") as well as an outlet for great songs that wouldn't fit on albums, like "Slow Graffiti," "A Century of Fakers," and "Lazy Line Painter Jane." Some of the tracks here would be pillars on a B&S greatest-hits compilation too; fantastic songs like "Dog on Wheels," "The State I Am In," "I'm Waking Up to Us," and "Put the Book Back on the Shelf." Push Barman to Open New Wounds is essential listening, the third disc you should get by the band behind If You're Feeling Sinister and Dear Catastrophe Waitress. Even if you already have all the EPs, you'll want to get this disc. It is reasonable priced, housed in the usual attractive package, and hearing all the songs back to back reinforces what an amazing group Belle & Sebastian were and are. [The disc also comes in a deluxe package, though all that means is that instead of a jewel case it comes in a hardcover book-style jacket.]

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...
Full bio