#TBT Time Again: Glasgow’s Crowning Glory – Belle and Sebastian

This 1996 track will be a throwback for most, but the delights of Belle and Sebastian’s Tigermilk are totally new to this Weegie’s ears (shameful I know).  So this sort of covers everything that The Music Brewery is all about – great new music and classic tunes that have gone unnoticed. That’s the way I’m looking at it anyway!

That's Gotta Hurt?
That’s Gotta Hurt?

The Glasgow six-piece released Tigermilk to much critical acclaim and a certain degree of commercial success in the UK as it reached number 13 in the album chart (back in the days when good music actually made it into the top 40). Now it must be noted that their hit début was released only 6 months after Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David formed the band which is quite incredible.

Drawing comparison’s to The Smiths and Nick Drake (for Murdoch immensely emotional vocals) their unique brand of baroque pop is truly spell-binding.

The track I’m going to look at today after much deliberation is ‘Expectations’. I could’ve quite easily focused on the fabulous album opener ‘The State I Am In’ or ranted and raved about the magnificent poppy wonder that is ‘She’s Losing It’ not forgetting the fantastically busy ‘Electronic Renaissance’. Did I mention it was a great album? I really could go on forever.

Murdoch swoons about a ‘queer’ and ‘strange’ schoolgirl in which it sounds like he’s talking about his own adolescence. Murdoch’s lyrics and the deep bass give it an undercurrent of broodiness – “And the head said that you always were a queer one from the start, for careers you say you want to be remembered for you art.”

Rapid acoustic guitars, jangly percussion and strong brass and string sections however, make this seemingly slightly moody song in an odd way uplifting. Like Murdoch is giving this misunderstood girl a big hug and saying unconvincingly “it’s OK, you’re gonna be fine, look at me.”

More than fine, Belle and Sebastian have gone on to be a global success releasing a further seven albums since Tigermilk with the band’s eighth – Girls in Peacetime Want To Dance – set for release in early 2015.

If it’s half as good as the iconic Tigermilk I think I’ll call my first born Belle Sebastian Woodger – sounds good right? I have a feeling my kid might be the subject of a song like ‘Expectations’ in the future…

Calum Woodger




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