by Belle and Sebastian


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The arrival of Belle & Sebastian's first soundtrack -- and the first album in two years from Scotland's finest pop combo -- is cause for celebration. Storytelling offers slightly more than half an hour of music: seven instrumental compositions and six songs with vocals, all written for the Todd Solondz film of the same name, along with five dialogue snippets from the film that set up some of the songs. As Hollywood would have it, the movie -- Solondz's skewering of American suburban culture -- incorporates only six minutes of B&S's music, so their Storytelling, which arrives six months after the film's release, spins its own tale. The breezy instrumental pieces, such as the piano-centric themes "Fiction" and "Freak," display the band's orch-pop with a Breakfast at Tiffany's flair and a bigger-than-normal budget, the strings sounding more lush than ever (there's even a harp bit!). As sweet as the alarmingly titled "Fuck This Shit" and "Consuelo Leaving" are, however, it's the vocal tracks that stand out. Sung by Isobel Campbell and "written as an ode to Todd himself," according to Stevie Jackson's liner notes, "Storyteller" is a jaunty analysis of the art of fiction-spinning, while the droll, minute-long "I Don't Want to Play Football" -- just piano and Stuart Murdoch's vocals -- is a mini anthem for freaks and geeks. Three tunes are successful character studies: "Wandering Alone," a peppy, vaguely south-of-the-border ode to the maid Consuelo; the swooning "Big John Shaft," concerning the lecherous Professor Scott; and the buzzing "Scooby Driver," a garage-pop nugget that builds on the sensational single "Legal Man," taking its cue from the Letterman-obsessed Scooby. Finally, the sweet, melancholy "Black and White Unite" recalls B&S's "Summer Wasting," as Jackson and Murdoch trade verses about the tyranny of the sunny season in Simon & Garfunkel-like fashion. In lesser hands, Storytelling might have been a scant 30 minutes of scraps, but Belle & Sebastian's deft touch allows the whole to ring with the beauty and clarity of an old church bell.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/04/2002
Label: Matador Records
UPC: 0744861051220
catalogNumber: 10512


  1. Fiction
  2. Freak
  3. Dialogue: Conan, Early Letterman
  4. Fuck This Shit
  5. Night Walk
  6. Dialogue: Jersey's Where It's At
  7. Black and White Unite
  8. Consuelo
  9. Dialogue: Toby
  10. Storytelling
  11. Dialogue: Class Rank
  12. I Don't Want to Play Football
  13. Consuelo Leaving
  14. Wandering Alone
  15. Dialgoue: Mandingo Cliche
  16. Scooby Driver
  17. Fiction (Reprise)
  18. Big John Shaft

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