The Boy with the Arab Strap

Album Description
The quirky Glaswegian outfit’s highly acclaimed & highly anticipated 1998 album featuring 12 timeless pop songs that are neither pretentious nor too cute. A 1998 Jeepster/ Matador’s Best of 1998
Belle and Sebastian follow up the considerable promise of 1997’s fantastic If You’re Feeling Sinister with an album that is, unbelievably, even better. The Boy with the Arab Strap is an immediately infectious and delicious pastiche of fey, Nick D… More >>

The Boy with the Arab Strap

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I just have to love all of these clueless reviewers calling this B&S music “super mellow lovely tunes to share with a loved one,” or “transcendent beauty,” or even “a harkening back to the gentle folk music of the past.”

    People, do you even know what an arab strap is? And how about Judy, who according to B&S, is a “dick slap”? How about the beautiful orchestral song from their latest album, “Take Your Carriage Clock And Shove It,” which includes a few mentions of the f-word?

    Underneath all of the so-called beauty is a subversive, slimey underbelly. Supposedly, this is why the critics love them. All of the hoity-toity people with one pinky in the air fall all over themselves talking about the “paradoxical dichotomy of the painfully beautiful, even uplifting music, juxtaposed with world-weary, deviant, subversive lyrics.” Yes, if you want to be a critics’ darling, you have to do something snickeringly cool like that. Yes, too cool for words.

    Give this a pass.
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. I kept hearing how this album required multiple listens before it would sink oh so effortlessly into your bloodstream, and I tried, believe me I tried. I slathered on some SPF 80, went out on the deck, spread out a towel, and let “Boy With the Arab Strap” waft through an open window upstairs while I sunbathed. Perfect way to listen to Belle and Sebastian, no? But after about four listens — and that was very generous, believe me — I hoisted my crisp, reddened lobsterbody up off the ground and ran into the house like The Flash to hit “Stop” on the CD player. It hurt, but it was worth it. I had had enough.

    Believe me, I love the sort of sylvan, shimmery music Belle and Sebastian specialize in; even the group’s NAME appeals to my nostalgic, woolgathering sensibilities. But this album just didn’t click. It might have been better without the clear standout “Sleep the Clock Around.” But “Sleep the Clock Around” is a disarming, honeyed dream of a song, and in comparison, the rest of the album feels like it was recorded when one of the singers was watching a marathon of Green Acres, happened to find a tape recorder under the couch, and decided to mumble a few lyrics into it. I have yet to hear “If You’re Feeling Sinister,” and judging by the reviews on this site, I probably should. I will, I will — tout de suite. Hopefully, it’ll be a little more… concentrated.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  3. I, like most fans, jumped on the Belle and Sebastian bandwagon. I heard them a few times, then went out and bought 2 full lengths and 2 eps. And you know what… when i actually think about it, and put this disc on. I REALLY don’t like this type of music at all. It’s very pansey and weak. This music is for people who are weak, both physically and mentally. The guys voice is just plain annoying. I’m sick of this “psuedo experimental” indie pop. This disc sucks, and so does the band. B&S are just too trendy for me. I’m either missing something, or not “cool” enough to be into it. The songs are boring and tired. Spend your money elsewhere. Buy a “Rachel’s” disc, or a “HOOD” album instead.
    Rating: 2 / 5

  4. To Belle and Sebastian: Stop being so reclusive. Come to Atlanta and play a show. And while you’re at it, let me join your band.

    I love all their stuff. But to me their music has gotten better each album, not worse. This is their best album.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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