Belle & Sebastian Mythology

New York Times Critic Notebook on Belle & Sebastian:
A Quiet Band Worth Fighting Loudly About Makes Some More Noise

As I said to LJ, I like the way it talks about the Belle & Sebastian that we loved- the Belle & Sebastian of the 90s, basically. It was the stories and the mythology that got me so wrapped up in them. An escape to a world both beautiful and sad. Sound familiar?

    The band’s story begins with a limited-edition 1996 album called “Tigermilk.” The album, now available on CD from Matador, includes a biographical essay that begins like a fairy tale: “Sebastian met Isabelle outside the Hillhead Underground Station, in Glasgow.”Those names, Sebastian and Belle, came from a French novel about a boy and his dog. But listeners were free to imagine that Mr. Murdoch was Sebastian, and that the band’s other main singer, Isobel Campbell, was Belle. Myth and mystery were part of the group’s appeal. The members declined interviews, declined to include singles on their albums, declined to print songwriting credits. And they made lovely and sometimes perfect music: fragile songs hung on sturdy melodies; lyrics streaked with love and spite.

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