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Fold Your Hands Child You Walk Like a Peasant

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Album Review

When Belle & Sebastian canceled several dates on their 1998 North American tour after cellist Isobel Campbell fell ill, many fans cried foul; couldn't the rest of the group have gone on without her? Of course not — Belle & Sebastian is a band in the most democratic sense of the word, a point reinforced by Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant, their fourth and most ambitiously eclectic album to date. Nominal frontman Stuart Murdoch recedes into the background even more than on The Boy With the Arab Strap, allowing bandmates like Campbell and Stevie Jackson to take on a greater share of the writing and vocal duties. Also like its predecessor, Fold Your Hands Child opts for a subtle, intimate palette that reveals its charms only in its own sweet time. It may be too subtle for its own good; even after repeated listens it fails to connect on any meaningful level. The record has many intriguing ideas (like the delicate "Beyond the Sunrise," which evokes the classic duets of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, and the vaguely rootsy "The Wrong Girl"), but few of the concepts seem fully developed. For better or worse, Fold Your Hands Child's best moments are those which hew most closely to the classic Belle & Sebastian sound — that is, Stuart Murdoch songs. Though there's little advancement in his contributions, they capture the band's past glories. The radiant "Woman's Realm" is a dead ringer for The Boy With the Arab Strap's title cut, while "The Model" retreads so much lyrical and musical ground it could be a self-parody. Still, the album provokes an intriguing question: Belle & Sebastian may be a band, not Stuart Murdoch's solo project, but is that a good thing?

Customer Reviews

i love it

a secret jem that isn't just as far away from reality as you may presume. this album is surrealy divine, the model being one of the best songs by belle and sebastian. definatly worth a spin.

a Good album

A like this album but with such other excellent albums like ...sinster, ...arab strap, life pursuit, and ...Barman... well all of their albums can't be incredible. Still if i had a choice between this one or some other 9.99 album i would have to choose this because although most of the beginning songs aren't so good the end songs are just worth possible lawsuits of disturbing the peace.

Not perfection, but still worth your time

Belle and Sebastian once again deliver a sound which is utterly unique. This album is a good compilation, but it's a little too esoteric to be considered a masterpiece.

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