x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The BBC Sessions, Belle and Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian are the most charming band in the world, and this album proves it.

Lucky charms... Belle and Sebastian.
Lucky charms... Belle and Sebastian.


Charming probably doesn't comes top of many bands' things to be-lists. It's just as well, because nobody can choose to be charming. It's the you-either-have-it-or-you-don't dichotomy. Belle and Sebastian are the most charming band in the world, and this album proves it. The first disk, a collection of BBC radio sessions, draws heavily on tunes from the Glasgow collective's earlier and most popular albums. The songs are slower and less charged than on the records. But the stripped-down recordings bring out a new tenderness in Stuart Murdoch's vocals. The result is an immeasurable sense of, you guessed it, charm. Cover versions as diverse as Thin Lizzie's The Boys Are Back in Town and The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun make up the second disc, alongside some slightly rarer original material, all taken from a 2001 live show recorded in Belfast. This record asks the question - how can you possibly make some of the most beautifully melodic folk-pop songs ever crafted and improve them? The fact that several of the tracks come from sessions recorded by the late broadcaster and indie music champion John Peel helps. The band playing them at two thirds their normal speed and not sparing the trumpets completes the charm offensive.
ogood@thenational.ae