I was a sailor before I was a pirate.
Dylan Schultz | 09/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is best listen to while alone, driving in a car, and really really loud. You wont appreciate it completely until you do this. Spend some time with it, get to be able to sing the songs before you go dissecting the lyrics. Oh, and make sure you have enough time to listen to the album in full, and in the correct order. This album will creep up on you, if you let it. I find it's healthy to examine one's self periodically for change and understanding. In due time, this album will guide you to think about your life a little bit differently than before - something that every good folk album/song should do.
Now, a bit on the content. I've read a few reviews that doc Stewart Murdoch's voice. Well, his sound is raw. Not in the gut wrenching, wild and willy nilly sense of the term, but in the sense that he sound like he hasn't ever taken voice lessons. You can tell that his voice is the product of a well attuned ear and a natural, and again raw, sense of music. In the end I think his voice is very unique and very very good. I've never heard anything like it at all; he very much has his own sound although it's very easy to see where he's pulled from; Nick Drake, Velvet Underground, and Donavon all come to mind. His rang is great, and the patterns, while very pleasant, are rather unusual. If your not paying attention, the music easily fades into the day.
The only song I'm going to comment on is "Fox in the Snow." It is a darling story of a dear troubled friend - as i believe many of their songs are. Fox refers to the girl (more commonly spoken as "she is a fox," or "foxy lady"). Snow refers to cocaine. The rest of the lyrics are similar metaphor. Once you know what the title means, the rest is deducible. There is something all too human about this song - I cherish it like one of my own dear friends.
Yes this album is very artsy - which is why I think many people bash it - but isn't music a form of art? If I didn't want my music to be artistic, i don't know why i would bother with music at all.
People say this is a good introduction to Belle and Sebastian. I'm not so sure. This album is a good example of the kind of music Belle and Sebastian play, but it's very loaded. I like to think an introduction should be simple. And in that sense, none of the music by this band is a good starting place. You sort of have to just dive in - much like love - a complicated mess that makes us happy to be alive, a melancholy masterpiece. I'm not saying don't start here, just that this entry is no better than any other. Again, be prepared to spend some time, a few listens, because nothing worth loving is every completely understood the first time you experience it."
Last album with original members, last one recorded in the c
David Munns | 03/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I had to choose the best Belle & Sebastian album ... I couldn't.
But "If You're Feeling Sinister" is the album I'd recommend for anyone who is looking to listen to some of their older music because they like a newer release and want a good starting place to get into some of their older stuff.
Alternately, if you've heard "Tigermilk" and/or "Boy with the Arab Strap" and like them, then this album is a more melancholic, complex, sophisticated, and oddly arousing take on their older story-like songwriting style.
When this album was released, the band never did publicity and it was next to impossible to find a picture of any of them. They sent out press photos with them in a classroom with their heads down on a desk.
Stuart David, then-bass player for the band, was really into this ink polaroids concept, where words better captured a person in a moment of time than taking a photo would because they wouldn't know they're being photographed. This was Stuart David's last album recorded with the band, and when he left the band they started doing publicity, interviews, playing more shows, toured and Stuart Murdoch's face and comments started appearing in many fan zines. Stuart David made his side project, Looper, his full time gig.
"Fox in the Snow" is lead singer Stuart Murdoch's favorite song, at least that's what he said to my friend in 2001 after my friend told him that her 4-year-old's favorite song was "Fox in the Snow."
The title track, "If you're feeling sinister," goes on to say, "go off and see a minister. He'll take away the pain of being a hopeless unbeliever." So a lot of hipsters and critics wondered if the band was, heaven forbid, religious. I like the line in that song where he says, "She was into S&M and bible studies, not everyone's cup of tea she would admit to me ..."
The only thing I don't like about this album is occasional song endings with blaring horns that seem to go on forever.
The best thing about early Belle & Sebastian albums is you can listen to them over and over again and always find something new, or catch something you missed before, and it's smart, insightful, poetic somethings that often make you feel better.
"If you're feeling sinister" has several tracks with really dense, woven, pretty stories and characters in them."