While the wait continues for a follow-up to their 2010 studio album Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, the Glasgow septet – once ranked Scotland’s greatest band – release this compendium of B-sides, remixes and rarities collated from the last 10 years of their career.
Comprising a weighty 19 tracks, it is, perhaps inevitably, variable in quality – one doubts, for instance, that the 2 Tone-inspired The Eighth Station of the Cross Kebab House would figure highly on many fans’ mixtapes of essential B&S songs, nor the Shadows-lite instrumental Passion Fruit – nonetheless it is interesting to hear a band 17 years into their career trying to stretch themselves a little musically.
In Love on the March they try their hands at bossa nova; Suicide Girl has an uncharacteristically rocky edge to it (not to mention a hint of The Cars in their new wave prime); Meat and Potatoes is a stab at blue-eyed soul albeit with a tongue-in-cheek, Fifty Shades of Grey-type lyrical tale to it.
Blues Eyes of a Millionaire adheres to the band’s wistful image but Stop, Look and Listen is a playful country and western hoedown and Richard X gives I Didn’t See It Coming a sparkling electronic sheen.
The best track here, however, is a previously unreleased Miaoux Miaoux mix of Your Cover’s Blown which gives a striking tune – that’s not a million miles from Sparks – a delicious dancefloor fizz.