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The Boy with the Arab Strap [CD]

Belle & Sebastian Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
Price: 8.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Belle & Sebastian release The Third Eye Centre - a collection of B-sides, rarities, and non-LP tracks from the last decade. The album is on CD, download, and on vinyl as a gatefold double LP.

The 19 tracks are taken from the Glaswegian band’s last 3 albums – Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003), The Life Pursuit (2006) and Write About Love (2010). The album can be seen as ... Read more in Amazon's Belle & Sebastian Store

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Frequently Bought Together

The Boy with the Arab Strap + If You're Feeling Sinister + Tigermilk
Price For All Three: 25.25

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  • If You're Feeling Sinister 8.48
  • Tigermilk 8.48

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Mar 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Jeepster Recordings
  • ASIN: B0000274T6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,488 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. It Could Have Been A Brilliant Career
2. Sleep the Clock Around
3. Is It Wicked Not To Care?
4. Ease Your Feet In The Sea
5. A Summer Wasting
6. Seymour Stein
7. A Space Boy Dream
8. Dirty Dream Number Two
9. The Boy With The Arab Strap
10. Chickfactor
11. Simple Things
12. The Rollercoaster Ride

Product Description


This highly anticipated album from Belle and Sebastian arrives with every hope satisfied. Each song is a cunning short story that wraps itself around you like a cosy couch throw. The loose theme running through this 12-song reverie is seduction. It plays out in both the drowsy sexual hopes of principal songwriter Stuart Murdoch's idle protagonists and the giddiness of bandmate Stevie Jackson's "Seymour Stein" and "Chickfactor", which document his bewitchment by the city of New York, its beautiful girls and florid pitchmen. The complex arrangements favour a whimsical diversity best experienced in "Sleep the Clock Around", which features synthesiser bloops, trumpets and bagpipes! If you haven't figured out that this Scottish eight-piece deserves every iota of hype it's receiving, it's time to have your ears checked and your record collection gone over by a certified professional. --Lois Maffeo

Product Description


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Absolute Gems Here 8 Nov 2012
By Keith M TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This 1998 album (their third) from these Glaswegian tunesmiths is another invigorating slice of poetic pop, containing a collection of songs once again peppered with witty and idiosyncratic lyrics and infectious melodies. For me, whilst Arab Strap does not quite exhibit the level of consistent brilliance of the band's debut album Tigermilk, it still warrants a five star rating since it contains some of my favourite ever songs by the band.

The album is also notable as lead vocal duties are shared between the band more widely than before, with Stevie Jackson singing on Seymour Stein, a nicely ironic parody of the jet-setting head of Sire Records ('Has he ever seen Dundee?') and on the similarly witty (although musically less inspired) Chickfactor, a send-up of New York highlife ('She's five hours behind'). Each of Is It Wicked Not To Care? (on which Isobell Campbell takes on lead vocal duties), Ease Your Feet Into The Sea, A Summer Wasting and Simple Things are trademark Belle & Sebastian, primarily acoustic-based, strong melodies and intimate lyrics (although the brevity of Simple Things belies what could have been an absolute stonker of a song). On the other hand, A Space Boy Dream is something of a bizarre (but undoubtedly original, and increasingly appealing) interlude, being essentially a jazzily futuristic instrumental, over which Stuart David relates his (spoken) dream of a journey to Mars.

However, my favourite songs on Arab Strap are a quartet which (for me) rank with the very best music this band has produced.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 8/10. 'Ease Your Feet In The Sea' 16 July 2007
Format:Audio CD
On first inspection the Amazon's favourable comparison to the Smiths and the Velvet Underground seems a little generous. And while the lyrical concerns bear resemblance to those of Morrissey and Stuart Murdoch's vocals make for a less smokey Nick Drake, Belle & Sebastian don't quite reach that songwriting bracket. Nevertheless, the Boy with the Arab Strap is a real grower, and after a few listens its melodic hooks start to catch. They excel at making music so seemingly light and effortless gradually leave its indelible mark on the heart and mind. Bleak stories of everyday failure and regret add a bitter taste to the unflinching prettiness of the music. Stuart Murdoch and Isobel Campbell aren't quite the odd couple of Lou Reed and Nico (or even Morrissey / Marr) but they make revisionist pop as dreamily saccharin as the Velvets.

'It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career' marries the Velvets' prototype dream-pop with Nick Drake's jazzier sensibilities, the folksy acoustic guitar slowly embellished with piano and alt-country tinges. 'Sleep the Clock Around' builds sweetly shimmering electronics and piano around a delicate melodic refrain. Swelling into a blissful synth and trumpet driven finale, this is where my Belle and Sebastian preconceptions went out of the window. 'Is It Wicked Not To Care' features Isobel Campbell on vocals and summery, breezy orchestrations. Despite the relative lushness of the musicianship on songs like this, it always feels loose and spontaneous, never top-heavy or over-produced. 'Seymour Stein' is like the Velvets' 'Pale Blue Eyes', with some lovely summery organs, piano and horns. 'Space Boy Dream' begins with a cryptic spoken-word sample and turns into a jazzy instrumental David Axelrod would be proud of.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rollercoaster ride for your soul... 5 Nov 2002
Format:Audio CD
First of all, it's quite difficult for me to review Belle & Sebastian, they're my favorite band, by far.
This album amongst everything they've ever produced is a gem. If you're into gentle and harmonious pop music... I find it quite difficult to find words but Stuart Murdoch and Isobel Campbell are wonderful singers... it's simple, honest, deep, considerate beauty altogether. It's very human; the sort of band which changes your life or at least how you look at it anyway - it did for me and for a few of my friends who are found of B&S. It's both refreshing, despairing, have some of the most beautiful and witty lyrics in pop music...
I would consider Boy with the Arab Strap as my favorite B&S album as a lot of my favorite tracks are there, Ease your feet is pure melancholy, Rollercoaster ride is amazing, fantastic lyrics. It just makes the difference in this shallow world we live in, very reassuring to hear that... well... it's not. It's prescription for your heart and soul, to meditate.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best work to date (marginally) 20 Sep 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Stuart Murdoch and co are what all other bands should aspire to be. They have never drastically changed their musical formula of beautiful, downbeat instrumental arangements, and yet all their songs sound wonderfully fresh. Added to this are witty lyrics that at times can only be described as sublime poetry. This record, arguably their best work, builds on their earlier albums, and also contains some more experimental material, combining an electric piano and bagpipes on "Sleep the clock around". It also contains the B&S songwriting debuts of Stevie Jackson ("Seymour Stein" and "Chickfactor") and Isobel Campbell ("Is it wicked not to care"). Other highlights include the lushious, beautiful ode to loneliness "Dirty dream number two", the short but sweet "Simple Things", the soothing "Rollercoaster Ride" and the Jazzy title track. I would reccomend it to anyone
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars bril
wish I'd found out about this group/album sooner. very enjoyable albuum to listen to. try it. good to chill to!
Published 2 months ago by N. Brooker
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime
This was the first Belle and Sebastian album I bought and it remains an absolute treat for the ears and the soul
Published 2 months ago by Huskyaddict
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it to bits
You will love it or hate it, I love it, great album, great title track, classic stuff and you will I am sure soon start to hear bits of this album having been lifted into TV... Read more
Published 12 months ago by DRX
5.0 out of 5 stars very good
One of my favorite albums. The second half especially has some very lovely songs. It also has a nice green cover which is pretty cool.
Published 15 months ago by benedict
4.0 out of 5 stars great album
surprisingly good if you can sit and listen to this - it is a very good album not as well known as it should be
Published on 25 Nov 2011 by malmac
5.0 out of 5 stars the best summer music
No one should be without this album. It will lift you out of the deepest slough of despond. It's excellent and will put a skip in your step.
Published on 3 Aug 2009 by M. Putnam
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic and by far their best
Full of poignant, hummable tunes. They have never bettered this.
If you like catchy music buy it.
I am listening to Sleep the Clock Around now. Absolutely glorious. Read more
Published on 6 April 2008 by Mr. J. P. Shields
4.0 out of 5 stars Dappled Sunlight
Offering a gentle alternative to the rampant Oasis and Blur dominated lad culture of mid-90s Britpop, B&S's rather lovely The Boy with the Arab Strap contains a dozen catchy pop... Read more
Published on 31 Aug 2007 by jol legend
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Poetry
Some albums change your life; "Nevermind The Bollocks", "Appetite For Destruction" and "Maxinequaye" are some of those that have touched me deeply and made me a different person. Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2007 by Mike Cormack
5.0 out of 5 stars This was given as a Christmas present. I love it.
This is a fantastic album. Some friends got it for me for Christmas and after listening to it a few times, totally fell in love with it. The lyrics are simply amazing. Read more
Published on 26 May 2006 by Mr. Richard Douglas
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