A long time ago, when Porky found the ability to use a computer, we reviewed albums much differently from how we do now (see here https://craighaggis.wordpress.com/2009/03/)
If I had continued this idea I would have a reasonable amount to write about Belle & Sebastian’s The Third Eye Centre (Rough Trade/ Jeepster) which is encased in a beautiful ‘hardback’ digipak packaging, with an attached booklet with lyrics and notes, as well as excellent photographs from performers at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow (the successor to the Third Eye Centre).
An admirable effort for a compilation, one that comprises B-sides, and ‘outakes’ recorded during the past decade. Of the obscurities, there are two tracks that didn’t feature on 2010’s Belle & Sebastian Write About Love. Both Suicide Girl and the vaguely rockabilly Last Trip are excellent, worthy of any studio album, although it is debatable whether either would have fit in with the temperament of Write About Love. There’s also a track from a War Child benefit compilation, The Eighth Station of the Cross Kebab House, which sounds a little like The Specials before they split. The inclusion of this makes me wonder why tracks such as a cover of the Young Marble Giants’ Final Day and The Monkeys Are Breaking Out The Zoo, both only available on compilations, weren’t also included.
Like The Smiths’ and The House of Love, the Glaswegians take their B-sides seriously and most of them are intriguing in their own way, with a special mention going to the hilarious Meat and Potatoes which relates in much detail the fumbling adventures of a couple who “try to spice it up”, but they encounter issues with one of the party having an allergic reaction to dairy products.
Surprisingly there are few tracks that receive the fast-forward treatment and it shows the depth the band have had since the turn of the century. There’s even a Sudanese element to a remix of I’m A Cuckoo.
I hope Belle & Sebastian continue for a few years, but there are bands that should take note that their time has come and they need to say their farewells to each other.
Maybe it’s fear of the future, the lure of the lolly and groupies, or just out of habit, that some acts just can’t bear to utter those immortal words ‘time to move on’. Arctic Monkeys, Manic Street Preachers, and, dare I say it, because I am a fan, Primal Scream, all produced their best records some years ago.
The Fratellis have long passed their best-before date. The indie rock band, with the emphasis on rock, rose a wave in 2006 on the back of cheepy-chappy, rousing singles like Chelsea Dagger and Whistle For The Choir. But it was never a project that the word ‘longevity’ could ever apply to, the debut album gained pass marks but a one-trick pony is, to state the rather obvious, a non-starter in the next race.
Needless to say We Need Medicine (BMG Records) is the sound of a band struggling to assert itself in the face of a lack of ideas. The riffs are from 1971, the vocals comparable to a school band in a Battle of the Bands contest, and the lyrics were also written in that same classroom. Needless to say, it’ll sell millions.