fold your band, child, your songs are too pleasant: the verdicts on the new Belle and Sebastian album roll in from PTAHE and Steal This Blog!. On first listen I have to agree: bland prettiness seems to be ‘in’, and almost every track seems happy just to exist for a few wry minutes. Trust me to start liking a band just as they go off the boil.

I’m kind of wary of levelling the ‘self-parody’ accusation at artists, though. I mean, yes, on one level it is apalling that B & S can try to get away with calling a song “Nice Day For A Sulk”, but there are plenty of artists – Otis Redding and the Field Mice spring to mind – who hit some of their greatest peaks when they’re at their most ridiculous. Nobody ever told Redding “Tone it down a bit, man, you’re just taking the piss now”, when he launched into the coda to “Try A Little Tenderness”, but that’s what ‘self-parody’ means, kind of.

On the other hand, “Nice Day For A Sulk” is pretty damn bad.