Thursday, January 29, 2009

Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister

Belle and Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister

Jeepster, 1996

Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2006

Price: $18

I’m only assuming this is an original and not a reissue given the price and the little Jeepster insert but really, it doesn’t matter. While I admire those who go to great lengths and pay exorbitant prices for original pressings, I really just want to own music that I love in some tangible format. I guess CDs are tangible, but I can’t see the point. It’s a piece of plastic that I can easily reproduce for ten cents. Ha, now that I think about this, I actually have this on CD too (purchased at the Antique Mall for five bucks) but having it on vinyl, with one of my favorite album covers ever is wonderful. Come to think of it, I have this album in t-shirt form too. Anyway, this is the best Belle and Sebastian record and one of my favorite albums. It’s one of those albums you get when your punk phase is winding down and you realize that there is more music in the underground that has more than three chords per songs. While Belle and Sebastian were notably dubbed “Sad Bastard Music” by Jack Black in High Fidelity, that only made me want to hear them more because I was a sad bastard at the time I first heard this in 2004 and I NEEDED this record. I think it’s their most cohesive album, building on the really perfect base they created on Tigermilk and going all the way. It fell off on the next couple of records and I really don’t think they’ve made a real Album (capital A, natch) since. Not to say Dear Catastrophe Waitress and The Life Pursuit aren’t great, but I approach those on a song by song basis. This is a lush landscape of songs compared to a series of portraits (Waitress) or a triptych (The Life Pursuit). And while I was a sad bastard when I first got into this record, I then and still do like Side B more because it’s more upbeat. Well, maybe not more upbeat, but it starts out more upbeat with back to back jams “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying” and “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” which might be my two favorite B&S songs. Like, when the horns come in on “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying,” seriously, one of my favorite parts of any song ever. That and the strumming pattern on the guitar, kill me. So good. Actually, Side A has more upbeat songs, and yeah, those are my favorites. “Me and the Major,” “Like Dylan in the Movies” (but I’m a sucker for any songs that reference other musicians made a play on this song in a Kite Tails song), and “Seeing Other People.” Although I do love the slow jams…and now I’m realizing why I love this record. I love every song except “Mayfly,” which I just really really like. Actually, that's a lie. I'm listening to that song now and the vocal line, the little organ flourishes and the buildup before the chorus and the weird sax solo! Yeah, all the songs on this record are great. And every time I hear “Judy and the Dream of Horses” it always reminds me of my friend Judy and it makes me miss her (however, I also think of her every time I hear the song “Judy is a Dickslap,” but in a funny way). Also, the picture inside the gatefold has the band's interpretation of "The Last Supper," which adds evidence to Chris Clark's claim that Stuart Murdoch is a raging Christian.


  1. This has my favorite B&S song on it "Like Dylan in the Movies" and it may be my favorite album of theirs too, but I can never really decide which albums are my favorites. Too overwhelming a task for me to even bother attempting.

  2. Great blog I've just discovered! I got the chance to read a few of your reviews. And I decided to post a comment right here, because this record of Belle and Sebastian is probably my favorite one of all B&S's albums. It's really amazing. I feel the same way as you in many aspects. I hope it's ok to leave this comment on an old post, but If You're Feeling Sinister is such a masterpiece. Anyway, congratulations on your blog.

  3. No worries, Giovanna! I'm glad you enjoy the ol' B&S! I work at a bookshop and I try to listen to them every time I have to open at the store! It's very much bookshop music!