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The Boy With the Arab Strap

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iTunes Review

Following up on their breakthrough album, If You're Feeling Sinister, Belle and Sebastian's The Boy with the Arap Strap opens the Scottish band's insular universe up a bit. The production aesthetic is a bit brighter and broader, fleshing out the sound more fully than the previous record. "A Space Boy Dream" works itself into a sort of psychedelic exotica feel, and several tracks feature a more extensive instrumental palette (extra percussion, electric piano, more elaborate orchestration) than before. Additionally, guitarist Stevie Jackson and cellist Isobel Campbell share lead vocal duties with frontman Stuart Murdoch. In fact, the Jackson-sung "Seymour Stein" — which seems to detail an ill-fated meeting with the founder of Sire Records — exemplifies the increasingly arch lyrical approach the songs were starting to take. Of course, from opening track "It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career" to closing cut "The Roller Coaster Ride," poignant portraits of tragic characters still dominate the B&S landscape, but nobody else makes sadness sound so beautiful.

Customer Reviews


a beautiful album- what else can i say...


More people should know about them..


There are lots of hooks on this album - as well as some of B&S's best timeless melodies. Buy this album for the title track and Rollercoaster, well worth the price, will give you years of enjoyment as long as you give it your attention.


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...
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