Posts from 4th May 2000

4
May 00

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN – “The State I Am In”

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BELLE AND SEBASTIAN – “The State I Am In” (MP3)
Oh Heaven help me, I like Belle And Sebastian.

To fill you in: I heard Belle And Sebastian three years ago (the If You’re Feeling Sinister album) and disliked them. I disliked the mimsy voice. I disliked the lyrics, which seemed designed pretty much purely as vehicles for the various ‘clever bits’ destined to get quoted in reviews (Bible Studies and S & M, etc. etc.). I disliked the bloodless arrangements. I disliked – well, in truth I didn’t even notice – the tunes. And so on. They got massive, I never even gave them another chance.

Then, two months after finishing my singles of the 90s, I heard “Lazy Line Painter Jane” and try as I might to keep my initial reservations in place it muscled my way onto that revised version of the list that lives in my head. I loved it, ultimately: I still hated Murdoch’s voice, I still had big theoretical reservations about the whole damn indie method of songwriting, but pop doesn’t allow for anything as namby-pamby as ‘theoretical reservations’, and when the girl’s voice comes in on ‘LLPJ’ it’s just insanely great. However, I could still cling to my previous unbelief – after all, the girl didn’t sing on any of the others, and my sources informed me that no other song of theirs ‘rocked’* quite as much.

*(I know that ‘rocking’ in this context is like describing a particular molecule as ‘big’, but such are the limits of the critical language.)

Anyway, I heard a couple of other B & S tracks and thought they were respectively rubbish and mildly charming. But I kept playing “Lazy Line…” and the thought kept niggling at me: what if they are good? what if they are? And so, one dark and solitary night, I downloaded “The State I Am In”. And I love it. I love the weaviness of the tune, I love the softness of the organ, I love enough bits in the lyrics to deal with the lyrics I don’t love, and most of all I love the ambition of it. Which may seem an odd word to use to describe a record so traditional and quiet in sound, but in 1996 there was nobody doing anything this intimate and sly.

Of course you may well know this, being possibly a bit more open-minded than your humbled writer. But I’ve learned my lesson now – as soon as I can afford it, I’ll off and buy Tigermilk. And will probably find it’s rubbish since I still hate that voice.

urbansounds >

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urbansounds >: much as I hate the trendy use of the word ‘urban’ to refer to electronic music this is a gorgeously designed site with some very interesting looking features on a ‘minimalism’ theme. Ignore the music review section as it’s pretty solely the kind of thing the Nathan Barleys of this world go for.

Detritus

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Detritus: Josh wanted a one-stop shop for sampling/cut’n’paste culture on the web, and that’s what Detritus is. Get yer Plunderphonics here! And in response to his Moloko comment – apparently that’s the chat-up line the singer of Moloko used on the instrumentalist when first they met. Why you’d want to pull somebody who used to be in Chakk is beyond me, but it’s ended up with pots of money for the both of them.

And “Britishisms” on the Momus site? Lor luv a duck! Josh, me ol’ china, I ‘aven’t the foggiest idea wot you’re talking abaht! (Incidentally: advice for Americans wanting to annoy Brits. War of Independence cracks don’t work because British history teaching is so crappy that most of us don’t even know that parts of North America used to be British colonies. Extensive newsgroup research has revealed that the “saved your Limey asses in the war” line strikes a much rawer nerve.)

The Fakeways Institute

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The Fakeways Institute is Momus’ latest wheeze. Beware the flashing lights, those of you prone to headaches or fits. Everyone else dive in! (My partial take on fakeness and authenticity: here, and yes Josh, I will reply to your comments on it one day!)