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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 209 - 09/19/13

Belle & Sebastian
The Third Eye Centre
Rough Trade Records Ltd. / Playground

Scottish brittle popsters Belle and Sebastian's The Third Eye Centre is a collection of rarities, collectibles, and non-album tracks (including the brand new track "Your Cover's Blown") summing up the latest stretch, the Rough Trade years, of a remarkable long career counting 8 records spanning over the last 17 years. Their three albums released by Rough Trade which the tracks are "taken from" (b-sides, session tracks and rarities) are: Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003), The Life Pursuit (2006) and Belle and Sebastian Write About Love (2010). This new compilation is sort of a 'follow-up' to Push Barman To Open Old Wounds (2005) which compiled their singles and EPs from their years on the Jeepster label.

The Glaswegian septet (Isobel Campbell is long since gone) have always been a pop combo performing pop on the shy, dry and wry side, maybe naive sounding but with an edge for sure. Whip smart is maybe the word. From out of art academia. Intellectual pop music, anyone? What's new (?) with the band and their musical playground is they've let guests inside to remix some of their songs. The visitors are Avalanches, Miaoux Miaoux, and Richard M. And the result? Belle and Sebastian goes disco! Well, "I'm A Cuckoo (Avalanches Remix)" (from the single "I'm A Cuckoo", 2004, the second single from Dear Catastrophe Waitress) is really neat and cool. The other two... not my cup of tea. Among the 19 tracks included on this collection here's ups and downs, as you always can find on such bags'n'buckets of rarities. Of the better tracks I'll mention "Last Trip" and "Suicide Girl" (two tracks making a 7" which was included with pre-orders of or handed out at record shops with purchase of Write About Love), the ska-pop of "The Eighth Station Of The Cross Kebab House" (b-side to "Funny Little Frog", the first single from The Life Pursuit), "I Took A Long Hard Look" (another "Funny Kittle Frog" single track), "(I Believe In) Travellin' Light" (b-side from "I'm a Cuckoo"), "Stop, Look And Listen" and the surf-twang (believe it or not) of the instrumental "Passion Fruit" (both from the "I'm A Cuckoo" single where they appeared as 'Siamese twins'), "Desperation Made A Fool Of Me" (a Peel session track, b-side from "Step Into My Office, Baby"), the elegant "Blue Eyes Of A Millionaire" (a session track from Write About Love), "Mr Richard" (b-side from "The Blues Are Still Blue"), and the playful "The Life Pursuit" - a title track that didn't make it to its album! (In stead it appeared as a cd-single 'b-side' for "The Blues Are Still Blue").

Well, some charming, some pleasant, and some funny moments. After a while I've had enough Belle and Sebastian for some time, but I guess I'll be back later. You'd better check out their proper albums instead.

Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Belle & Sebastian articles/reviews: 3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light, Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, Dear Catastrophe Waitress, Dog on Wheels, Girls In Peacetime Want to Dance, Greek Theatre, UC Berkeley, CA, 22.08.2003, Lazy Line Painter Jane, The Life Pursuit, Warfield Theater, San Francisco, USA, 9.9.01.

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