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Dear Catastrophe Waitress

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Belle & Sebastian

Dear Catastrophe Waitress

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Just when they seemed sure to fade away into twee-pop irrelevance, this obscure Scottish indie-pop act releases their strongest album in seven years. With lots of help from uber-commercial producer Trevor Horn (ABC, Yes, Pet Shop Boys, t.A.T.u.), singer-songwriter Stuart Murdoch finally gets back to leading his band. It was a nice idea to have everyone else share the vocal spotlight on Fold Your Hands and Storytelling, but wasn't Murdoch's delicate voice so much of what made us all fall in love with the band in the first place? Clearly, Horn understands this, just as he understands that the preciously lo-fi sound had to go. Horn brings every instrument into a crystal-clear, lovingly retro, Top of the Pops clarity. It's their most diverse album by far, from the marching, uptempo(!) drums on "Step Into My Office Baby" (which sounds like Melanie meets Adam and the Ants) to the fractured, New Wave-organ-driven "Stay Loose" (the close as B&S has come to Talking Heads territory). What a nice surprise.


After the near-disaster of forced democracy on Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant and the stultifying holding pattern of the Storytelling soundtrack, where Todd Solondz brought out their worst tendencies, it seemed that Belle & Sebastian were disappearing into their own preciousness, but then something unexpected happened: they returned to form with 2003's Dear Catastrophe Waitress. This was unexpected not just because their last efforts suggested that B&S no longer could produce a consistently engaging work, but because their savior came in the guise of Trevor Horn, the man who successfully helped Yes turn new wave, the man best known for his synth-heavy productions of ABC and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the man who was last heard producing everybody's favorite Russian teen lesbian duo, Tatu. That diverse resumé suggests that Horn knows how to play to a band's strengths, and he certainly helps Belle & Sebastian regain their focus and vision, turning Dear Catastrophe Waitress into one of the group's best albums. One of the reasons that album works so well is that the notion that the band has no leader has been discarded, with Stuart Murdoch thankfully serving as the lead singer and songwriter throughout the record. Murdoch's songs are firmly within the patented Belle & Sebastian style, and while it may be true that he's not stretching himself much as a writer, that doesn't matter because he sounds assured and confident, turning out a set of songs that are finely crafted and tuneful. It's among his catchiest work, if not quite his cleverest, since the words occasionally offer an overdose of whimsy that leads to queasiness. And that's where Horn comes in -- by keeping the focus on the tunes and subtly varying the production, he's made Dear Catastrophe Waitress the richest musical offering yet from Belle & Sebastian. If it doesn't quite have the timeless feel of If You're Feeling Sinister, so be it, since this is their first record since that defining album to offer a similarly rich listen, and that's quite a comeback for a band that only an album ago seemed to peak too early.

Additional Information

Artist Belle & Sebastian
Track Listing 1 Step into My Office, Baby - 4:12 2 Dear Catastrophe Waitress - 2:22 3 If She Wants Me - 5:05 4 Piazza, New York Catcher - 3:03 5 Asleep on a Sunbeam - 3:22 6 I'm a Cuckoo - 5:26 7 You Don't Send Me - 3:08 8 Wrapped Up in Books - 3:34 9 Lord Anthony - 4:14 10 If You Find Yourself Caught in Love - 4:15 11 Roy Walker - 2:57 12 Stay Loose - 6:41

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