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The Boy With the Arab Strap
 
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The Boy With the Arab Strap

7 Sep 1998 | Format: MP3

£6.61 (VAT included if applicable)
Buy the CD album for £9.25 and get the MP3 version for FREE. Does not apply to gift orders.
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Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
2:23
30
2
4:58
30
3
3:22
30
4
3:35
30
5
2:06
30
6
4:42
30
7
3:01
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8
4:14
30
9
5:14
30
10
3:32
30
11
1:46
30
12
6:36


Product details

  • Original Release Date: 7 Sep 1998
  • Label: Jeepster Recordings Ltd
  • Copyright: (p) Jeepster Recordings Ltd
  • Total Length: 45:29
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B007RFQNFC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,802 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Demob Happy on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Nov 2012
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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By jol legend on 31 Aug 2007
Format: Audio CD
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 songs of nostalgia, adolescence, inadequacy, innocence, longing, desire, endless childhood summers, and odes to the joys of generally lazing around, sung with fragile voices mostly to a low-fi backing of acoustic guitar, piano and soft snare one-twos.

But this is no ordinary disposable pop; It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career starts the album with the line "He had a stroke at the age of 24", and we realise these are not songs you're likely to be singing around the campfire despite the accessibility of the simple nursery rhyme like melodies. The wistful and sometimes surreal lyrics will appeal to fans of Morrissey or Nick Drake, and conjure up romantic images of colourfully dressed bohemians reading French poetry outside coffee houses on a sunny day.

Best of all is the infectious hand clapping title tune where singer Stuart Murdoch mischievously changes the lyrics to "You were laid on your back, with the Boy FROM the Arab Strap", a nod to fellow Scotch indie-band named after said item of bedroom-wear!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Edouard Bouffenie on 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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