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14 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
This is truly the most diverse Belle and Sebastian album yet. Much of the album contains quiet, acoustic songs - without lyrics, but these are cleverly interspersed with dialogues (from the film) and more classic Belle and Sebastian tracks. There are other surprises to come, Scooby Driver is very different to any of the band's previous songs, but is still great. It seems...
Published on 9 Jun. 2002

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The state that I am in
Having enjoyed B & S's work since introduced by Mark & Lard on the graveyard shift, I am always eager to get my hands on their latest offering. For the first time I am disappointed. Although a couple of songs stand up and would make singles the rest is a collection of ideas and vague wanderings which seem like they are waiting to be developed into grown up songs at a...
Published on 8 Jun. 2002


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 9 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
This is truly the most diverse Belle and Sebastian album yet. Much of the album contains quiet, acoustic songs - without lyrics, but these are cleverly interspersed with dialogues (from the film) and more classic Belle and Sebastian tracks. There are other surprises to come, Scooby Driver is very different to any of the band's previous songs, but is still great. It seems that Belle and Sebastian can master whatever they put their minds to - what will they do next?
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it gets good eventually., 28 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
having witnessed them play live recently and then feeling that they have lost their magic recently, my love for belle & sebastian began to wane slightly, and when i put this album on for the first time i thought it had gone forever.
however, with it being belle and sebastian i decided to give it a few more listens and give it a chance before dismissing it...and them completely. now I have to try hard to get some of these tracks out of my head.
what you really have to remember about this album is that it is not a typical belle & sebastian album, but a soundtrack so you really treat it as such. that said, they still manage to show they're greatness through their instrumentals and lyrical ability on tracks such as "wandering alone" and "big john shaft". their choice of dialogues from the film seem to fit the album perfectly too.
with this album, belle & sebastian manage to show us that they can produce a record differently to their usual style and in a different context and still produce something wonderful.
like i said, give it a few listens.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super soundscapes from Scottish soulsters, 6 Jun. 2002
By 
John Johnston (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
Storytelling is a wonderful collection of songs, instrumental tracks and clips from the eponymous movie. I'm a passionate B&S fan but I enjoyed this more on first listen than their last album. Its fabulously chilled out: tracks like Night Walk could be from an acoustic version of Moon Safari by Air. But the band prove they can up the tempo as well on tracks like Scooby Driver and Storytelling. I think this is an album with a broad appeal and not just for existing fans - so get in there!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars words and music, 3 Sept. 2003
By 
crispin (Maidenhead, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
this is Belle and Sebastians fourth album and is most definately the most different. It has been written as a kind of 'extended soundtrack' to the film of the same name. the first five tracks are instrumental and, as pieces of music they are very good, but they did not live up to my expectations of they pop-rock-ballad songs from the other albums. these do come however in the guise of the two songs 'storytelling' and 'scooby driver'. i found the best song on the album to be the mildly bizarre 'dialogue: mandingo cliche'.
The album hails more to 'fold your hands child...' than any of the bands other albums but cannot be compared in a way because it is so different. Die-hard fans will buy it, and many will enjoy it, but for people just discovering the band, start with 'tigermilk' or 'if you're feeling sinister'.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Belle & Seb do Jackanory, 7 April 2004
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
It's funny how particular regions or cities possess very specific modern musical traditions: Liverpool's Merseybeat and its 80s alternative bedrock; Manchester of the late-80s and early 90s (not to mention the current likes of Doves and Elbow); and the West Midlands tradition of old-school heavy metal.
And, swayed by regional stereotypes, it's always a pleasant surprise that Glasgow has been the purveyor of some of the finest, most melodic, pop music these islands have produced. No, I'm not talking about Lena Zavaroni (nor Del Amitri - Stupid!) No, for whilst Roddy Frame has ploughed a lone, but productive songwriting furrow, and while Teenage Fanclub have consistently made the Beach Boys sound like Slipknot, Belle & Sebastian have emerged as the nation's most unlikely arch melody-mongers and puveyors of understated witt.
This album is a compilation of songs written for Todd Solondz's film Storytelling - only about 6 minutes of the music actually made it onto the film, but Belle & Sebastian developed what was left, and this is the outstanding result. It's a mixed bag which includes its fair share of incidental soundtrack. In the whimsical harmonica and strings of "F*** This Sh*t" we might imagine our protagonist walking, hands pocketed, stopping to browse a shop window, buying a paper and having an unheard chat with the vendor.
"Night Walk's" simple piano melody skipping across a dreamy string-scape, however, suggests our subject is in more reflective mood, perhaps thinking back to better times. Make what you will of "Consuelo's" bittersweet blending of melancholy harp, brass and foreboding strings. In "Consuelo Leaving" there is, held within stabs of string, the latino piano rhythm, the changes of pace, and the teasing backing vocals, a sense of heightened drama, a change about to come, or a significant moment just happened.
Throughout the recording, snips of dialogue remind us that this is a film soundtrack. But regardless of how good a film is (and I haven't seen this one yet), the tracks ought to stand up to listening on their own, and there's enough 'real' songs on here to satisfy those hooked on the jaunty pop-chique of Channel 4's Teachers theme tune.
"Black & White Unite" is 60s folkrock overload and the clever frontier country and tiujana brass of "Wandering Alone" sketch an imagined and heroic Zorro-like figure that roams the mountain ranges, avoiding traps and returing daily to his Señorita. "Scooby Driver" is a high tempo, faux-goofy indie sweetmeat - think Teenage Fanclub on cartoon Scooby Snacks and you've got the picture. "Big John Shaft" is an easy listening funk-lite gem, strewn with subtle key changes, pizzicato string stabs and lilting trumpet solos.
The title track is incidentally an upbeat ode to the film director, and a meditation on the art of film making ("If you're a storyteller you might think you're without responsibility/And you can lead your characters anywhere you want/You have immunity"). Stevie from the band reckons this record "is the best one we've made in a while . . ." Whatever, it's a great record in its own right and, while many critics dismiss the band as outdated fops and musical magpies, this soundtrack demonstrates the truth about Belle & Sebastian: they do everything better than the originals. (I can't wait for their homage to Osborne, Iommi, Butler & Ward.)
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, 13 Jun. 2002
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
I didn't see the film that this is the soundtrack for but I heard it was pretty dire. Luckily this album isn't! It is true that this is an odd album! It starts off with a few instrumentals with a few sound bites thrown in for good measure. You will have to listen to this album a few times through until it begins to sound good, but if you do this then you will realise that it is an amazing album!!
This is by no means B&S' best album, that award is taken by Tigermilk, but it is still a brilliant album! If you have never listened to B&S before then get Tigermilk! If you have heard any of their other stuff then this album will make clear the diversity that the band has! BUY IT!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well I like it..., 25 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
"Oh no, they've really lost it... I've liked them from Tigermilk" "A real return to form after a lacklustre few albums" These are the comments that have met every Belle and Sebastian release since "Fold..." and I expect will meet every release until they call it a day.
Personally I like all the B+S records, including "Fold..." (shock horror!) which I think has two of their best ever songs on it in "Fought in a War" and "Too much love". I like this as well, though it has to be emphasized that this is a soundtrack and not an album proper.
It only has 5 (arguably 6) proper songs on it, of which "Black and White Unite" and "Big John Shaft" (particularly the latter)are up there with the best of the back catalogue and worth the price of the record alone. The others are rather half baked affairs.
The rest of the tracks are instrumental variations on a few musical ideas and soundbites from the film. The instrumentals are nice, "Fiction", "Freak" and "Consuelo leaving" are particularly noteworthy, but they are just instrumentals designed for a film, so you can't go complaining that they're boring nor view them as you would new B+S songs.
The soundbites seem to divide people. Obviously they're not supposed to be listened to on their own but as a divice to break up a largely instrumental record I think they work quite well.
All this goes on to make me say that whilst I agree that Stuart Murdoch is the master craftsman in B+S when it comes to writing songs, in the album stakes I think B+S are probably one of the most consistently solid bands around today with a highly individual sound. I thank you ;)
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good B&S album, 4 Jun. 2002
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
Even though many of the songs were not ready at the time the movie was released, the album is very much like an original soundtrack. This is good for one and bad for one reason. The latter are the dialogues that break into the music in my opinion (although they hint on the movie being good as well - I have not seen it). The good thing about it is that the album features seven instrumentals (several on the theme of the opener). Even though B&S is very much about the words, these perhaps capture the essential tenderness in B&S extremely well (their other instrumentals so far have been good as well). And last, but definitely not least, there are two songs here that score among the top of B&S - the title track and the last - "Big John Shaft", that they have only played live before. All in all, B&S can also play brilliant soundtracks, even if released long after the movie itself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
Very good
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The state that I am in, 8 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Storytelling (Audio CD)
Having enjoyed B & S's work since introduced by Mark & Lard on the graveyard shift, I am always eager to get my hands on their latest offering. For the first time I am disappointed. Although a couple of songs stand up and would make singles the rest is a collection of ideas and vague wanderings which seem like they are waiting to be developed into grown up songs at a later date. The dialogue interferes with the flow and shows that there can be no mid -Atlantic meeting point here.
I hope this is just a side project to clear the vaults prior to a return to form, for I just can't imagine when I'mm going to put this one back in the player.
Oh the state that I am in! For completists only.
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