24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2005
No one writes songs like Belle and Seb do. No songs full of ye ye ye choruses, no same old love songs telling the same tired old tales.
Just unique stories about life's simple beauty, irritating little annoyances, unfortunate situations and normal everyday thoughts and feelings.
These songs will immerse you into the lives of others, make you feel for them, care about these imaginary peoples lives much like a good tv show.
The opening song for example tells the story of a young man whos life has strayed from his childhood dreams, not neccessarily through any fault of his own but more life seems to have been against him from the start, which is beautifully conveyed with clever lyrics: "the priest in the booth had a photographic memory...wrote a pocket novel called the state i am in".
The clever attention to detail continues and when you notice the wonderful little link between the first song and the last you'll be laughing because it is so perfectly done. the girl whos life is going nowhere: "she's reading the book the state i am in, but it doesnt help at all" :D brilliant.
The best Belle And Seb song ever written in my mind is also here, "I Could Be Dreaming" yet another wonderful tale with a simple but effective tune that instantly hooks you.
I could talk for a long time on every song on this album, but there is a word limit so i better sum up by telling you that you must own this, after a few listens you will be in love and it will never be far from your cd player.
Hope this has been helpful :)
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2001
For a lad who's usual taste in music consists of shouty Mancunian bands singing badly and playing chords ripped off from the Beatles, this is perhaps one of my all time favourite albums. The State I Am In is genius. Tunes coming out of their ears, lyrics of every day life, and a bit of an angst-ridden recluse for a lead singer make me think they're the Scottish Smiths. But then they don't have Johnny Marr... shame.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2001
Well, not necessarily, but it did mine. A truly beautiful record and not a bad song on it. 'Expectations' is such a documentary of my school days that it scares me, 'The State I Am In' is lyrically gorgeous and 'We Rule the School' is probably the most understatedly uplifting song I've ever heard. Belle and Sebastian are one of those rare bands that are really difficult to describe - chamber pop/indie/folk that's actually relevant, possibly? I once described them to a friend as "what the Velvet Underground would have sounded like if they'd made folk." Well, whatever - listen to them! Now! And 'Tigermilk', being their first album, is probably the best place to start.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2012
Hearing Tigermilk again, after a protracted lay-off from all things Belle & Sebastian, takes me hurtling back to the mid-90s, staying up late to listen to Mark & Lard's outstanding evening show for Radio 1, & taping the band's embryonic "live in the studio" sessions while I desperately tried to get my hands on a copy of the LP. Sadly, with only a thousand pressed, that never came to pass, & I had to rely on a ropey cassette dub for several years, 'til the band finally relented & let Jeepster reissue it (in 1999). 15 years since it's original release, Tigermilk still sounds like a cheeky crossbreed of Forever Changes, Bryter Later, The Strange Idols Pattern, & The Television Personalities' And Don't The Kids Just Love It... perfect, virtually.
As much as I adore the first half dozen Belle & Sebastian albums (including their oft maligned Storytelling soundtrack), & the accompanying brace of stand-alone singles, I honestly don't think they'll ever better Tigermilk. It's not just the remarkable quality, & broad scope, of it's 10 striking songs (can you imagine them recording something equivalent to "Electronic Renaissance" now, for instance?), but the circumstances surrounding it's release. Originally a privately pressed student project, it's popularity grew slowly & organically, by word of mouth rather than press hype, & most of us had fallen in love with these songs l-o-n-g before we knew what the band looked like (!) or had the opportunity to see them perform live. It's also significantly tougher - both musically & lyrically - than the band's subsequent work, & there's a palpable desperation, & a barely concealed anger, simmering just beneath the surface. Like The Smiths' early records, once heard Tigermilk is never forgotten. And, like The Smiths, songs such as "The State I Am In" can still induce an awed silence, just like "Reel Around The Fountain" or "Asleep".
Somebody else on here cites Tigermilk as "the best debut album by a Scottish band ever" &, though somehow that seems patently ludicrous, I can't think of a better one, can you?
Recommended songs: all of them.
Rating: 6 stars out of 5.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 30 May 2000
I first heard B+S on Mark Radcliff's Radio One show about four years ago. Listening to The State I am in, I realised I was hearing something awesome, something that was totally new and fresh, young and innocent...It was a beginning of a long and emotional journey. Immediately I sent off my cheque to Stow college in Glasgow and a week or so later Tigermilk arrived. As everyone else who has listened to the album will understand, the first time on hearing it, I was an emotional wreak. I knew I was listening to the work of genius, and Tigermilk is just that. All the tracks are immersed in poignent imagery, the lyrics speak to a hidden child deep in all of us, they all mean something personal and emotional to each individual. Of all the music I have listened to in my life and of all the albums, Tigermilk is definately number one without a question. If you haven't had the pleasure, then please indulge, for you will realise just how beautiful words and sounds can be.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2003
This was my favourite album for a long time. The superb debut by the superb Belle & Sebastian.
It's so refreshing to hear intelligent, poetic lyrics that don't feel the need to rhyme when it doesn't fit. Beautiful memorable melodies with simplistic chord structures married together with vast sensitivity. Although they are simplistic, the are so in a deliberate, knowing way (not like an Oasis 'we can't actually do anything else' simplicity). You only have to hear "Jonathan David" to realise the band's musical genious.
The theme of the album seems to be based around how you feel as a post-education 20-something trying to get your head round the world. Viewing past experiences and feelings in a beautiful way.
Everybody should own this album. It has stood the test of time with me (which is very rare).
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2002
So simple and pure, reminiscent of late-50s, early-60s bands. Great lyrics and some of the purest melodies ever produced. It has to be said that I didn't like B&S when I first heard it a few years ago and it took me 6 years to buy this album. I'm sorry I waited so long. If you haven't got a B&S album and you think you're wavering, buy this - you'll not regret it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2006
This album - bought on a whim of the liking the cover - holds one of those special places in my heart. Not because it was the album I fell in love with, or I was on my favourite holiday when I first heard it or anything twee like that, but because it is just so damn good and holds no pretention of grandeur or greatness at all.
Other albums that share the same space as this are Pink Moon by Nick Drake, Grace by Jeff Buckley, Harvest by Neil Young, United by Phoenix and musicforthemorningafter by Pete Yorn. Albums of shimmering beauty, craft and intelligence.
The boy with the arab strap, dear catastrophe waitress and their latest release the life pursuit are all worth a listen also as great albums by a great band. But Tigermilk? Wow...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2001
from the exquisite opener 'the state i am in', to the tender fade out of 'mary jo', B+S have produced one of the most sensitive, lyrically insightive albums of the last decade. It has the contradictory quality of being both melancholic and yet uplifting all at once, a feature evident throughout. Although criticised in the media for appearing aloof, never has a band managed to touch me as much with it's lyrics as B+S. If you're feeling down and needing consoling then reach for the likes of my wandering days are over:..."i hit the drum for the final time and i walked away" and wallow in the comfort in being sad. Alternatively for a pick me up listen to 'I dont love anyone' and take on the world. I disagree that B+S too often descend into syrupy twee-ness, just because they appeal to an audience often 'marginalised' in society does not mean that they cannot trade melodic/lyrical blows with their brilliant scottish counterparts the fannies or the delgados. My only criticism of this band is that they cancelled their tour last year..but as the old saying goes 'good things come.....' .However in this case replace 'good' with any number of superlatives you can think of.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I have only got into Belle and Sebastian in the last couple of years, and am gradually getting to listen to all of their albums. However, this was the first album I heard and, thus far, is still my favourite. Their appeal is actually quite difficult to pinpoint. The sound is generally very light (and folksy) with minimal level of electonica, but also featuring somewhat rarer instrumentation e.g. trumpets and flute. The songs are extremely infectious, and there is not a bad song on this album. The lyrics are also very witty and amusing, covering a range of subjects from the need to rise above modest life ambitions (working in M&S, C&A and Debenhams!) to the risk of descent into insanity.
Outside of the obvious folk/pop influences, they also remind me of the Velvet Underground and Yo La Tengo in their folksy moments.....and you can't get a better recommendation than that.