Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress
CD Album, 2003, USA
I love Belle & Sebastian's graphics, in fact if it was all in a book I would buy it. But their music leaves me cold except for Stuart Murdoch's side-project “God Help The Girl” which I think is great. It is what I imagine a Belle & Sebastian album should sound like. But their actual albums leaves me cold.
My friend Chris bought me Dear Catastrophe Waitress and it is produced by Trevor Horn, who handled the first ABC album, which is a record I really like. He's known for his big sound, big production, but it seems for this album he was sitting on one of his hands, because the sound of the record is very clean sounding and understated. Which I think serves the songs well, but the material to me is not that strong or memorable.
I like their sound, and I can tell that they have good taste in music, and its sing-along big folk-pop sound on paper sounds great. But the execution of the record is not what I think it is, and sometimes that works, but I find it a tad twee without the poison.
But even on the piles of trash one can find a silver lining, and that is “Lord Anthony” which has a beautiful arrangement that builds and builds. Nice tasteful strings and one would not think they would hear a banjo in this song. So there are surprises here, but not consistently. The opening track “Step Into My Office Baby” is cool, and it reminds me of of a combination of 10cc and mid-60's Beach Boys.
So in the nutshell, the album is frustrating to me, because there are places where I think 'ah ha' but it turns into a shrug.