fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant
Belle and Sebastian

The most accurate, though potentially least helpful, way to describe Belle and Sebastian's most recent record, fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant, is to say that, if such a thing is possible, it sounds even more Belle and Sebastian-like than any of their previous records. But that takes for granted that you, dear reader, have heard Belle and Sebastian--a logical assumption here in Brooklyn, where Scottish-looking hair-boys decorate most every corner--but, nevertheless, an unjust thing to do. So let me try another tack.

If one were to buy a wind-up music box that played rock 'n' roll, I'm quite sure it would play a Belle and Sebastian song. A group of gentle indie-kids from Scotland whose namesake is a French children's television cartoon based on a novel, Belle and Sebastian are a band hooked on fairy tales. Their songs are pretty and fey, full of twinkly piano sounds, little girl voices, simple melodies, brassy announcements of love, and party chatter. Contrasting other Britpop bands of late--say, Travis with their crooning and wanting, or Oasis with their brash demands--B&S seem unburdened, if not always blissful. Many of their tunes promote a triumphant, punk-rock sort of individualism, along with a forward-looking, come-what-may attitude toward life-in-general. B&S's pure fun is a rarity.

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