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'Fold Your Arms Child, You Walk Like A Peasant' was actually the first Belle and Sebastian album I ever owned. I just happened to see it one day in a record store and pick it up, uninformed and not knowing what to expect. For this reason it'll always have a special corner in my music head, because even though i've since come to own every other Belle and Sebastian album, this was my first encounter with them. Other people rate it as one of the worst, but I am still of the opinion that it's underrated.
'I Fought In A War' is an elegant song. It's not the sort of song you listen to time after time, but if you do every once in a while, it's easy to appreciate the quality of it.
'The Model' is of a different mold. It never really seems to go anywhere, yet that in itself is ok, for the whole point of it is the lyrics - which are almost like a short story.
Now we come to the infamous 'Beyond The Sunrise', which has been slated by the majority of Belle and Sebastian fans, and is one of the main reasons why this album isn't liked as much. Listen to it and I think you'll agree with the general feeling. It's not that easy to like. Good thing then, that the skip button was invented.
Thankfully the next song, 'Waiting For The Sun To Rise' more than makes up for it. The female vocals of Sarah Martin are wonderful, while the overall song gives off a mysterious, seasonal vibe.
Don't Leave The Light On Baby is another reason for the album's less than enthusiastic reviews. It is slow, dull and drags terribly.
The Wrong Girl up's the tone a little. In saying that, it's still not that strong compared with most other Belle and Sebastian songs.
The next song, The Chalet Lines is a slow piano number, which besides it's at times shocking lyrics, is a bit drab.
Thankfully there's much more to like about Nice Day For A Sulk, Women's Realm, Family Tree and There's Too Much Love.
While the album has a few dodgy moments midway through, it definitely ends strongly. In fact the last 2 songs are some of Belle and Sebastian's most solid across all their albums.
In conclusion, i'd say that I was unfortunate not to pick up a better Belle and Sebastian album when I was randomly browsing. I think there are stronger ones out there, with this one better reserved for serious fans.
Even so, I still rate it. There is much to like if you can get over the true awfulness of one or two songs.
This is probably one of the most underrated Belle and Sebastian albums, being the album that happens to be in between the classics (If You're Feeling Sinister and The Boy with Arab Strap) and the modern new great albums like Dear Catastrophe Waitress and The Life Pursuit. This album, released to somewhat mixed reviews, actually holds true to the Belle and Sebastian sounds we've come to expect from the group.
The album starts off slow, in typical B&S style with the song I Fought in a War, a slow acoustic piece by header Stuart Murdoch which starts a theme used recurrently throughout the album. The Model, one of my favorite songs on the album follows and is a much more cheery piece, and then into a different style for the band with the duet Beyond the Sunrise which features Isobel Campbell and Stevie Jackson, who sings in a strangely low voice. Other notable changes on this CD from the band's usual style is the increase of songs by other members of the band, with Jackson singing Wrong Girl, Sarah Martin singing the eerie but beautiful Waiting for the Moon to Rise and Isobel on the song Family Tree, a whimsical piece about her not fitting into society and the plans and expectations her family has of her. There is also a much more expanded string section, featuring heavily mostly in The Model and Waiting for the Moon the Rise.
With the usual mix of thought-provoking lyrics, soft carefully planned music and Stuart Murdoch's immediately recognisable voice, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant is a really good album and although not as well put together as If You're Feeling Sinister it's still a really good album, for any soft pop, indie or B&S fans
Belle and Sebastian are one of those bands which offer an isolationist sentiment and melodic '60's nostalgia', which remains there strong point amongst those who ask - who the hell are Belle and Sebastian? Once discovered though they are hard to shake. Their continued refusal to engage with the media has begun to stir some questions - is their faceless act a result of timidity, or arrogance? Quite simply it is an attempt to not become a commercially successful band, they would rather remain just underneath the water level, doing what they do best - writing great music. Although after the release of their latest single Legal Man (not on FYHCYWLAP) things may change...if they allow it to. Going in a new direction is not something Belle and Sebastian seem particularly concerned with, if you need this then you listen to Stuart David's other band 'Looper' for break beats, ramblings and experimental Hip Hop. Besides, these artists produce more of the same excellent music we want to listen to as other members of the band proliferate. There is Stevie Jackson's love for anything Motown and the intimations of Isobel Campbell's interest for nursery rhyme lullabies, reminiscent of the bands second album The Boy with the Arab Strap. We re-enter the classic Belle and Sebastian territory here - going back to the original routes from their first album Tigermilk - intricately constructed arrangements executed with effortless, vivid panache amongst delicate strings. The band deal less with adolescence and more with abstract emotions in their music. 'The Model' is the albums strongest song as Murdoch sings with his usual uninterested and breathless voice amongst the ballad of what sounds like a classic film soundtrack. 'I Fought In A War' is a soldier's letter home to his sweetheart. 'Don't Leave The Light On, Baby' shimmers with the gentle sensuality that begs for a replay. 'The Wrong Girl
' resembles a Bacharach tune with those trumpets playing. Their songs are like stepping into a time machine - nothing new or ground breaking, just simply nostalgic and something we would rather listen to at times, to give us a break from the sounds of techno which some of us are just as happy having along side B&S. Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant is quintessentially Belle & Sebastian and just as irresistible as what has gone before.
Going into the world of Belle & Sebastian, i'd only really heard their excellent single 'Legal Man', which doesn't actually appear on this or any of their albums period. So i was buying this album without having heard any of their songs, but from the first strummed notes of the opener, 'I Fought In A War', the album began to pay off. Indeed, the openening track is one of the best ones on the album, combining a gorgeous acoustic guitar riff with a very dark subject matter ("before i would stand with another boy in front of me/ and the corpse that just fell into me with all the bullets flying round") and some great, uplifting string sections all come together to set the album off at a tremendous pace. 'The Model' is a bouncy, bright retro pop number, with it's bright little piano lines and it's chirpy voclas all give the album a bit of light after the opening track's percieved darkness. 'Beyond The Sunrise' is a strange little song- it starts like the theme tune to a western film, but manages to sound refreshing enough and gives the album a slice of diversity. 'Waiting For The Moon To Rise' is one of B&S' 60's pop outings, which they manage to do so well, with its flutes, bouncy rhythm and cool jazzy guitars, it fits in well. 'Dont Leave The Light On Baby' is perhaps the stongest song on the album, being as it is more of a soul record than anything else. It's tale of a bittersweet romance really lifts the album, and gives all heartbreaks accross the world a new theme tune! (i should know, ive had my fair share of them). 'The Wrong Girl' is the bouncy pop number, charting the lives and loves of a romantic fool looking for his ultimate girl. It is a great song, but not the best on the album. 'The Chalet Lines' is a very dark little number, juxtapoing a beautiful piano and cello against the harrowing
tale of a rape victim ("he raped me in the Chalet Lines/ the girl i shared with was away for the night"). Very dark, but still a very good song. 'Nice Day For A Sulk' is the B&S patented 3 minute or so pop song, lively and vibrant, it bounces along and returns you to the lighter side of the Scottish band. 'Womens Realm' is again, a nice jolly pop song, with its soft guitars and thumping beats, it helps the album along nicely. 'Family Tree' is also one of my personal fave's from the album. Nice and sweet, it features the female voices of the band, and highlights the dry wit of the songwriters- "i'd rather be fat, than be confused". A gorgeous little song. And to end the album, 'Theres Too Much Love' does it nicely. Not too dark, not too light, it's the perfect end of album song, with it's cool guitars, upbeat tempo and it's jazzy vocals, it ends preceedings beautifully. Very good, and very retro, Belle and Sebastian are the only band who could possibly make an album in 2000, and make it sound like it was made in 1960! gorgeous hooklines and great, catchy chorus' make this album one of the 'must haves' from the past few years. Great stuff.
‘Fold your hands child…’ is the fourth album from the Scottish collective Belle and Sebastian and the first since the break through success of ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’, which saw them move away from the cult status awarded by their first two albums and move towards mainstream success. Oh and cause controversy by stealing the Best Newcomer award from under the noses of Steps, shame that. Having thoroughly enjoyed their earlier material I eagerly awaited this album and inevitably bought it on the first day of release. The preceding single ‘Legal Man’ (not featured here) was a slick sounding piece of 60s influenced pop and heightened my expectations, so perhaps it was inevitable that the album would be slightly disappointing. Opening track, ‘I fought in a War’ is however, an excellent start, a pretty lyric and deliciously light melody that glues itself to your mind on repeated plays. ‘The Model’ is also excellent track, a bouncy harpsichord and piano drive the track, with a string section entering late on, while the interplay between the two vocalists is lovely. The track also features some of Stuart Murdoch’s finest lyrics including my personal favourite “I’m not to proud to say that I’m okay/with the girl next door next door who’s famous for showing her breasts”. There are several other superb tracks on ‘FYHC…’, ‘Don’t leave the Light On’ takes a long time to build up, but is true twilight music and deserves a place in any list of B&S’s finest. The real showstopper, however, is ‘The Chalet Lines’, a emotionally jagged song about a rape. The music is perfectly matched and it sends shivers down the spine with every listen, but unlike say ‘Me and a Gun’ by Tori Amos the song is also gently beautiful, the melody providing a intruiging juxtaposition with the tense lyric
. Unfortunately this excellent material is let down by what can only be described as a lack of quality control. ‘Beyond the Sunrise’ conducts itself at a funeral pace and is far too twee to provoke anything but a cringe. ‘Nice Day for a Sulk’ is if anything worse, a pretty piano plods along in search of a tune but never seems to find one. The lyrics are lazy to say the least: “Nice day for a sulk/the girl smells like milk,”. Whilst ‘Waiting for the Moon to Rise’ and ‘The Wrong Girl’ are pleasant enough but fade from memory almost as soon as they end, sounding rather like a Lush outtake and a Motown pastiche respectively. Thankfully the album picks up pace with three final tracks. ‘Women’s Realm’ is catchy and fun although it could do with a chorus instead of an instrumental as its refrain. ‘Family Tree’ walks a fine line between being delicate and little too cute, but is saved by a sweet vocal performance and a rich refrain. It is only with the final track ‘There’s too much love’ that the listener is once again reminded why Belle and Sebastian are so good. Wry lyrics, a memorable melody and delicious sweeping swings close off a satisfactory close to the album. So despite containing some of B&S’s best material to date it is hard to offer FYHC… a unconditional recommendation. There is a little too much filler here and whilst repeated listening rewards one can not shake the feeling this is their weakest release to date. Those who are new to the band would probably be better starting with ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’ or ‘Tigermilk’.
Ok, so i've been a fan since the start (don't you hate that?) but write here as a critic. This is, i think, their weakest album. Sometimes when bands become popular they become all too aware of what made them popular and stick with the formula. This record has something of that, but also rather annoyingly on other tracks shows a tendency towards change for the sake of change. Their biggest weakness as a collective is rapidly becoming the apparent principle that everyone should get a chance to sing. Only Stuart has any ability. The girl is weak; the other guy is plain horrible. This albumn also features their worst song to date: track 3, with the boy/girl vocals and absurd cod-religious lyrics Nike Cave wouldnt murmer in his sleep. A couple of songs could only be described as bland, such as Family tree. On the plus side, I fought in a war is excellent (although the chorus sounds spookily like that of a Duran Duran classic I belive is called Ordinary world), the last song kicks a certain amount of arse and somewhere in the middle Stuart sings about rape without sounding trite. Incidentally, the Legal Man single released around the same time is, i think, a little more flattering. B-side Judy is a dick slap is one of the best things they have ever written. In fact, i am of the opinion that their best material in general is found on the singles/EPs.
FYHC, YWLAP (God that's a long acronym) is a major step up in quality for Belle and Sebastian. While "The Boy with the Arab Strap" and "If you're Feeling Sinister" had some great moments, they never quite reached the heights that you could tell the band were capable of. Well, with this latest album they've got there. The whole album is wonderful, but particular stand-outs for me are the first track, "I Fought in a War" and the absolutely stunning "Don't Turn the Light Off Baby" which has a dreamy ethereal lilt to it which is reminiscent of the very best of Nick Drake, their most obvious influence. In fact, this album most clearly shows the band's enormous debt to Drake, with the string-backed tracks really bringing his first two albums to mind. For those of you who know Nick Drake's work, you'll know this a huge compliment. For those of you who don't - buy this album, then the rest of B&S' albums, then buy all of Nick Drake's. Trust me, you won't go wrong.
FYHC, YWLAP starts out like most Belle and Sebastian albums with a lone voice waiting for backup, which duly arrives in the form of lush strings and Jim Reeves on guitar. Following this up with 'The Model', a genuine classic even by B & S standards and you realise they've gone and done it again. How long can this band sustain this consistent quality? Maybe it's the fact that they seem to have more members than your average Man United supporters club, but Belle & Sebastian are quite literally able to write memorable ditties at will. 'Waiting for the Moon to Rise' for example has its heart set firmly in the sixties and displays a suitably subtle nature that would sound incredibly fresh on daytime radio. It would shock a lot of people into realising that what they call music is complete drivel. 'The Wrong Girl'has a certain alt country feel about it. In the hands of another band, it could've been a mess but Belle & Sebastian pull it off with distinction, with the trumpets stealing the show. FYHC, YWLAP is sufficiently quieter than 'The Boy with the Arab Strap' so is 'Nice Day For a Sulk' trying to tell us something? Perhaps Isobelle has used her influence, as there are quite a few Gentle Waves moments sprinkled throughout the album. Just as you think B & S have lost their momentum half way through the album, though, they rattle into 'Women's Realm' which appears like a steam train out of nowhere. FYHC, YWLAP sees Belle & Sebastian producing the goods again and while this album might struggle to bring new fans on board, due mostly to its minimalist nature, the converted will lap it up. Why doesn't FYHC, YWLAP pick up the five stars then, well because 'Beyond the Sunshine' and 'Don't Leave the Light on Baby' are just too pedestrian to be interesting. Otherwise, though it's another champagne performance.
but pleasantly pleased with what i purchased. I primarily bought this album after being told by a friend that they were good and after reading revies on this web site that compared the group with Simon and Garfunkel. The standout tracks for me are 'I Fought In A War', 'The Model', 'Don't Leave The Light On Baby' and, above all, 'The Chalet Lines'. What draws the listener to this album is the soft, sensitive tone of the main vocalists and the exceptional lyrics which are seemingly placed over beautiful backdrop music. 'The Chalet Lines' is the perfect example of this. A song about rape, the lyrics, in my opinion, perfectly describe the behaviour of somebody going through this experience and its subtelty and emotional power are brought out even further because a man sings it. For some reason I think this makes the song and lines such as 'I'd put a knife right into his eyes, my friend cant see, she asks me why i dont tell the law, oh whats the f**king point at all' demonstrate the group using simple lyrics but creating beautiful, tragic songs. Although there are some weak songs, such as Beyond The Sunrise (which isnt even THAT bad), in general i would definately recommend this album to anybody who likes to listen to softer music at times which is made up of an array of instruments, in particular the piano which is used excellently on this album, and brilliant lyrics. One more thing to say - definately better than S****!
Like all the best bands (ie. those with any discernible character) Belle And Sebastian seem equally able to inspire intense adoration and fairly violent loathing. It's the tunes, y'see. People just can't get comfortable with an band who refuse to play by the rules and make up their own off kilter clever-clever rock'n'roll, gaily flinging bits of Northern soul, Sixties pop, Eighties indie music, timeless brass and strings, corrupted choirboy vocals and the odd odd noise in the face of expectation. And then refusing to do (hardly) any interviews to explain themselves! Well they've brought it on themselves. Luckily they won't care. They're well aware no one else could make a record like this and that's good enough for them. For example opening song "I Fought In A War" might be a soldier's letter home or the testimony of a troubled soul leaving an ill-fitting life, but it's certainly a fabulous piece of words and music. Elsewhere the quiet and louder magic continues with songs like "The Model", "Don't Leave The Light On Baby" and "There's Too Much Love". Contrary and consummate pop.
The newest offering from Belle and Sebastian, only released in the last month, is a bit differant from the previous three...rather than one/two members of the group writing the songs they`ve all (well, most) had a go. This results in the album having a differant overall feel, which it is none the worse for. I fought in a war, is typical B+S and so is The Model. Beyond The Sunrise is rapidly gaining a name as the worst ever B+S song unfortunly (well, one song had to be) it`s a slow piece with only a few lyrics. Maybe i`ve missed something with that one. My favourite songs are Nice day for Sulk, The Wrong Girl and Womans Realm. Compared to other B+S albums this comes on a level with Tigermilk, i wouldn`t say it was a step backwards, not by a long way, but just not quite as good. Overall, fairly warm, not hot.
Not having followed the steady, if odd rise of this Scottish collective (Brits Best Newcomer? Steps were gutted), i was a little concerned that this was going to be indie-schmindie fare, all deliberately tinny production and poor tunes. i needn't have worried. Tunes are the name of the game here, pleasantly lilting melodies tinged with a little sadness. It's even a little pastoral - though not folky. The polished strings and restrained woodwind may put you in mind of a lighter Tindersticks. However, many of the reference points here are Sixties-based. Opener 'I Fought in a War' is reminiscent - musically, if not vocally - of some of the material on Scott Walker's early solo releases, and the next three tracks all carry vague tints of Arthur Lee's Love. Lyrically, we're in small-town woes territory. The tale in 'The Model', of a boy's love for the girl-next-door who found fame and fortune on Page Three, veers closest to Jarvis Cocker's milieu, but without quite the same acidic wit. 'The Wrong Girl' is the most upbeat track on the album. It doesn't take such a great effort of will to imagine Neil Diamond writing it and having it sung by the Monkees. That's no bad thing! If you caught the excellent, Beach Boys-ish single, 'Legal Man', it's unfortunately not included here. Shame - but there's plenty more good stuff. The soulful 'Woman's Realm', the sweet and gentle ballad 'The Chalet Lines', or the delicate and thoroughly catchy 'Family Tree'. Not one of the songs outstays their welcome. It's hardly innovative, but it's perfect to wash away those tired city blues. It's a little gem, is what it is.
I think that the quality of this album is demonstrated by the fact that it reached the top 10 on the back of 1 Top of the Pops appearance for a single which wasn't even on the album, and one press interview which didn't really say much about the album or the group. This album is, in my opinion, the best thing that Belle and Sebastian have produced. This is mainly due to the production, which is very professional and crisp, allowing each members parts to be heard. The sound is much stronger than the thin, occassionly twee sound of previous albums. Here the group are experimenting with a much wider instrumentation; harpsichord, electric piano, electric guitar and a full string section, are some of the things which were not present on previous albums. Songs such as 'I fought in a war', and 'Don't leave the lights on baby', are full of emotion and very expressive. Others are humorous, but the quality of writing is excellent throughout, and is much more intricate than on previous albums with a greater layering of sound, without losing the groups charecteristic delicate touch. There is a greater variety of sound with some songs sounding almost classical, and there are definately no fillers on this albums.
The newest offering from Belle and Sebastian, only released in the last month, is a bit differant from the previous three...rather than one/two members of the group writing the songs they`ve all (well, most) had a go. This results in the album having a differant overall feel, which it is none the worse for. I fought in a war, is typical B+S and so is The Model. Beyond The Sunrise is rapidly gaining a name as the worst ever B+S song unfortunly (well, one song had to be) it`s a slow piece with only a few lyrics. Maybe i`ve missed something with that one. My favourite songs are Nice day for Sulk, The Wrong Girl and Womans Realm. Compared to other B+S albums this comes on a level with Tigermilk, i wouldn`t say it was a step backwards, not by a long way, but just not quite as good.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 I Fought In A War
2 The Model
3 Beyond the Sunrise
4 Waiting For The Moon To Rise
5 Don't Leave The Light On, Baby
6 The Wrong Girl
7 Nice Day For A Sulk
8 Chalet Lines
9 Woman's Realm
10 Family Tree
11 There's Too Much Love