14 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Stuart Murdoch heard female voices in his head as he began writing songs about a young girl’s mental breakdown in this modern world for a film planned to follow. He sent out a casting call and settled on a variety of voices ranging from Seattle teen indie band Smoosh singer Asya and Catherine Ireton, to contest winners Brittany Stallings and Dina Bankole, as well as Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and Murdoch himself. This revolving cast of characters is cemented with the supple, recognizable energy of Murdoch’s band Belle & Sebastian, who chime in with their weightless sway, delivering mirth that cuts through the underlying despair. Two Belle & Sebastian tunes are re-covered: “Act of the Apostle” and “Funny Little Frog.” Two instrumentals sneak past: “A Unified Theory,” “Music Room Window.” Ireton adds a saucy cheek to the title track that reflects the ‘60s Parisian pop aesthetic Murdoch has often chased. “Pretty Eve In the Tub” uses strings for a whimsical chamber pop while an entire team of vocalists nail down the closer, “A Down and Dusky Blonde.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Stuart Murdoch heard female voices in his head as he began writing songs about a young girl’s mental breakdown in this modern world for a film planned to follow. He sent out a casting call and settled on a variety of voices ranging from Seattle teen indie band Smoosh singer Asya and Catherine Ireton, to contest winners Brittany Stallings and Dina Bankole, as well as Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon and Murdoch himself. This revolving cast of characters is cemented with the supple, recognizable energy of Murdoch’s band Belle & Sebastian, who chime in with their weightless sway, delivering mirth that cuts through the underlying despair. Two Belle & Sebastian tunes are re-covered: “Act of the Apostle” and “Funny Little Frog.” Two instrumentals sneak past: “A Unified Theory,” “Music Room Window.” Ireton adds a saucy cheek to the title track that reflects the ‘60s Parisian pop aesthetic Murdoch has often chased. “Pretty Eve In the Tub” uses strings for a whimsical chamber pop while an entire team of vocalists nail down the closer, “A Down and Dusky Blonde.”

TITLE TIME

About God Help the Girl

Essentially Belle & Sebastian leader Stuart Murdoch, the rest of B&S, and a phalanx of female muse-singers (but mostly obscure Irish vocalist Catherine Ireton), God Help the Girl is one of the odder "side projects" (if it can even be described as such). Formed in 2008 to create music for Murdoch's similarly titled film-in-progress, God Help the Girl takes the basic obtuse storytelling and twee-plus B&S sound and tweaks it into the past, injecting elements of '60s girl groups, Left Banke-esque Baroque pop, lilting chanson, and just a touch of Randy Newman wryness. The centerpiece of Murdoch's creation is a young curiosity-chaser named Eve. While the initial intention was for a rotating cast of Eves recruited by personal ad to voice her, Ireton, a dark and sultry jazz crooner, carries most of the workload on the 2009 self-titled debut, although others, including Smoosh's Asya, drop in when the time beckons. ~ Jason Thurston

ORIGIN
Glasgow, Scotland

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