27 Sep, 2013

Belle and Sebastian – “The Third Eye Centre”

If you are as big of a fan of Glasgow Scotlands, “Belle and Sebastian” as I am, then you most likely picked the new album up within the week that it was released.  “The Third Eye Centre,” is the twelfth album presented by the band, however, it is only the second in the series of compilation albums that the band has released following their 2005 release of “Push Barman To Open Old Wounds.” The album features mostly rarities as well as tracks that can be found on the B-sides of singles released by the band since their last compilation.

So In discussing this album, It would be wrong not to consider how the band has assembled the track listing. “I’m a Cuckoo”, released as the second single from 2004’s “Dear Catastrophe Waitress,” starts us off. This almost whimsical version of the tune, remixed by the Australian electronica group, “The Avalanches,” comes to us via accordion, flutes, bongos and random percussive instrumentation. This rhythmic rendition of the song brings a new and unobscured interpretation to one of Belle and Sebastian’s most popular tunes.

The song is followed by “Suicide Girls,” released as a bonus track to the 2010 vinyl edition of “Write About Love.” The tune has a really “punch” to it, as the synth and drums manage to lead the way, while guitars, although present, take a backseat to the boisterously poetic voice of lead singer “Stuart Murdoch.”

What I find interesting is how we begin at this point in the album to venture into odd territory. Each song really brings several different aspects of sound and instrumentation by the band. From the lounge like sounds of “Love On The March,” to the rock and roll sound of “Last Trip” which features guitarist Stevie Jackson brilliant and down to earth vocals, and then into the “Miaoux Miaoux” remix of longtime fan favorite track, “Your Covers Blown,” which features interesting synth effects as well as bass pounding beats over the lyrical harmony which helps to sharpen the edges to this destructive dance theme.

“Heaven In The Afternoon,”  features one of my favorite musicians, Sarah Martin, on vocals. Her ethereal vocals float softly over acoustic guitars while the bawdy horns manage to fill in the empty spaces. This ultimately brings out the quintessential sound that Belle and Sebastian have seemed to master over their 17 years as a band together. This can be seen as well from the” Write About Love” track, “I Didn’t See It Coming” (Richard X mix) Coupled by the fact that they have always shared songwriting abilities with each other selflessly on their albums, Belle and Sebastian’s harmonies are famous for neither one vocalist overshadowing the other, rather, they have learned how to incorporate themselves into one unit, and portray their vocals as it’s own instrumentation instead of any one member taking over the sole vocal position.

Other highlights of the album include the eccentric, instrumental surfer sounds of “Passion Fruit.”  The wistful and romantically soft acoustic rock sounds of

“Blue Eyes Of A Millionaire.” The anguishly poetic “Meat and Potatoes,” which describes the misgiving and boredom of a relationship from the perspective of two lovers. This leads us into the final track of the album, which carries the namesake from the 2006 album, “The Life Pursuit.” This tune takes us back to the lustrous pop rock sound of guitar, drums and synth with the familiar lyrical paradoxes of negative/positive experiences that has guided the band for close to two decades now.

So in short, go out and buy this album. As a compilation album, it serves to bridge the gap that the band had not been able to fully connect their fans to since the release of “Push Barman To Open Old Wounds.”  in 2005. Perhaps it serves as an ending to yet another era that has made “Belle And Sebastian” who they are today. Their signature sound has evolved into what we are hearing today and I would not be surprised if the next B&S album goes off the tracks a bit and takes us into some uncharted territory. With this band,  anything is possible.

 

 

*-see reference below

No. Title Original Release

Length

1.

“I’m a Cuckoo” (Avalanches Remix) I’m a Cuckoo” single

3:59

2.

“Suicide Girl” Belle and Sebastian Write About Love bonus track

2:40

3.

“Love On the March” Step into My Office, Baby” single

3:50

4.

“Last Trip” Belle and Sebastian Write About Love bonus track

3:02

5.

“Your Secrets” Books EP

3:12

6.

“Your Cover’s Blown” (Miaoux Miaoux Remix) Not previously released

5:58

7.

“I Took a Long Hard Look” Funny Little Frog” single

3:34

8.

“Heaven In the Afternoon” White Collar Boy” single

3:30

9.

“Long Black Scarf” “White Collar Boy” single

2:51

10.

“The Eighth Station of the Cross Kebab House” War Child’s Help!: A Day in the Life album

3:58

11.

“I Didn’t See it Coming” (Richard X Mix) Come on Sister EP

3:46

12.

“(I Believe in) Travellin’ Light” “I’m a Cuckoo” single

2:38

13.

“Stop, Look and Listen” “I’m a Cuckoo” single

4:07

14.

“Passion Fruit” (Previously part of “Stop, Look and Listen”) “I’m a Cuckoo” single

2:34

15.

“Desperation Made a Fool of Me” “Step into My Office, Baby” single

4:16

16.

“Blue Eyes of a Millionaire” Belle and Sebastian Write About Love bonus track

3:41

17.

“Mr. Richard” The Blues Are Still Blue” single

2:36

18.

“Meat and Potatoes” “Funny Little Frog” single

4:29

19.

“The Life Pursuit”

 

 

*Track listing Referenced from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Eye_Centre

 

 

 

 

Written by Nes Lasen

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