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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
If you are unfamiliar with the sound of Belle and Sebastian and you are curious enough to be reading this humble review, then may I take it upon myself to suggest that this collection could serve as a very worthy introduction to the band! It gathers tracks from all their EP releases on the Jeepster label, and is absolutely chock-full of wonderful, vital music.

Disc 1 features the 12 tunes from their first 3 fantastic EPs and it is difficult to spot a duff one! There is "Dog on Wheels" with its infectious minor-key hushed vocal melody, choppy acoustic guitars and a bold mariachi trumpet break. "String Bean Jean" is perfectly simple jangly guitar pop with understated vocal harmonies. "Lazy Line Painter Jane" is a remarkable GET-OUT-OF-BED tune with echoing, Spector-esque production, boy/girl vocal interplay and gigantic flurries of hammond organ. "Beautiful"(my personal fave!) is just that: a gorgeous downtempo baroque folk masterpiece, sung plaintively by Stuart Murdoch. The trumpet solo here (underpinned by shimmering strings and reverb guitar) always moves me deeply. BEAUTIFUL indeed.

Disc 2 features all the cuts from their next 4 EP's and as such is positively RIDDLED with diverse charms. "Modern Rock Song" is a 3 chord slow burner, building on a base of acoustic guitar, adding electric, strings and brass until it crescendos with almighty vocal harmonies from Murdoch and Stevie Jackson. BLINDING. "Slow Graffiti" is another winning ballad which could almost be categorised as "indie soul". "Jonathan David" is the band doing what they do best - wrapping an intricate vocal line around a spiralling piano groove. "Marx and Engels" is almost bafflingly good - a steady beat, a gorgeous descending piano riff, twinkling organ and a predictably splendid whispered vocal from Murdoch. Musical ambrosia, to be sure.

Listening to this compilation now, it is easy to see why B+S have captured many people's imagination over the years. Many of their fans have developed unshakable obsessions with the band! Their spellbinding music and affable personalities have ensured them a devotional fanbase. For myself, on a personal level, I have often found that listening to their music has resulted in lifting my spirits and eradicating my frequent melancholy moods.

As I said at the opening of this review, if you are new to B+S, this collection is a great place to start. Be warned, however: The likelihood is that you will subsequently shell out on all of their albums and ultimately not want to listen to much else!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2010
I listened to Belle And Sebastian first when I was in Erasmus in Aberdeen in 2004, and I fell in love with them. They sounded exactly the way I needed music to sound like at the time - when I was really into Simon & Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell and folk music - : it was quiet, clever, mind-blowing without being excited or aggressive, etremely peaceful but deep. Above all, it was music that sorrounded me with an imaginary landscape whose shapes and colours changed according to the mood I was in, and that's precisely what I wanted. I guess they came in at the right moment for me. It's not something you are prepared for, neither you consciously wish: it just happens that when you hear that particular kind of music, you immediately recognise it as being THE music you've been waiting for and craving for and everything else seems just unessential in comparison.
Altough much has changed since and the epiphany faded (how naive I was!), I still think that Belle And Sebastian is one of the most exciting group of the 1990s and the best things they did are collected here. I'm not saying that full-length albums are not worth buying, the first three - especially IF YOU'RE FEELING SINISTER - are really good indeed, but at length I think they tire a bit. Conversely, you won't get tired wih the Extended Plays proposed here because each song appears to be conceived and crafted to become a single. The productions are somewhat more accurate, the compositions - both lyrics and music - are stunningly beautiful and the melodies outstand sharply if compared to those of the albums: "Lazy Line Painter Jane" and "This Is Just A Modern Rock Song" are such masterpieces of melodic perfection (sorry for the emphasis, but that's just the way it is) you won't find in either full-length release.
I know it is a strange, funny thing to do, to begin with a compilation of EPs, but even if you don't know Belle And Sebastian at all I would still recommend this release strongly because it is the best way to convince you, neophyte, that this band is great.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 29 April 2005
Oh, what a joy this will be for people who have not had the good fortune to come across these EPs when originally released.
Many of Belle and Sebastien's best tracks were laid as singles rather than on their albums, and these EPs reveal a much broader sweep to their music than their albums do.
There's a clutch of classics here - the Wurlitzer driven duet Lazy Line Painter Jane, the winsome and beautiful You Made Me Forget My Dreams, the Spector-esque Slow Graffiti... the list goes on and on. This is Just a Modern Rock Song is a wonderful, fey slow-burner of a song, A Century of Fakers and Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie rattle along like few B&S songs do anywhere, Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It is a wonderful mini-drama of a country song.
More than any other B&S long-player, this one should be in everybody's collection. It is close to pop-perfection and explains to the doubters (if explanation were really necessary) why B&S have been so lauded by so many of us over the last 10 years.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
In comparison to other 5 star album, I have to agree with the previous reviewer - we are in solid 6 STAR TERRITORY HERE. For a band that still do not receive the recognition they so clearly deserve, the level of musicianship is stunning. This is grown up music with grown up subject matter. The type of songs that, in 15 years time, will have young song-writers falling over themselves to site as influences.
My favourites must be "The State I Am In" - (recently discovered that this is the demo version), "Lazy Line Painter Jane", "The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner" and "I Know Where The Summer Goes".
And the packaging is cool, too - hard back book style.
Go on, do yourself a favour. Forget the Coldplay album, Oasis' next re-run or even Jack and Meg - (you can get them later, Ed.). Treat yourself to some 24 carat class and discover your new favourite song.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2013
The first four Belle & Sebastian songs I ever heard were This Is Just A Modern Rock Song, Dress Up In You, I'm Waking Up To Us and Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie - all of which I truly love. I'm Waking Up To Us is my ultimate favorite B&S song! When I saw that 3 of those songs were on this album I knew I had to buy it, and I am so glad I did. The other reviews have described B&S in such a great way, so there's no need for me to elaborate, but I will list my favorites in addition to those already mentioned.

Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Jane and Take Your Carriage Clock And Show It.

This is a great album, good for almost every occasion. A must have!
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on 8 July 2015
Under a stupid title and mediocre artwork typical of their later records lies some of the greatest songs Belle & Sebastian ever recorded. You see, between 1997 and 2001 B&S released a steady stream of non-LP singles/EPs and all of them are compiled here. The first 3 EPs (all released in 1997, incredibly) that make up the first disc are B&S at their absolute peak - songs such as the sparse Dog On Wheels, the Morricone-tinged ode to the dole walking life String Bean Jean and the indie dancefloor classic Lazy Line Painter Jane. Although not as consistent, the 1998-2001 EPs and singles on the second disc also contain some gems such as the awesome synth-led instrumental Judy Is A Dick Slap and the groovy Stevie Jackson-sung Jonathan David. Proof, if needed, that B&S didn't always put their best songs on their albums.
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on 23 June 2015
Insanely well written songs, performed majestically.
I discovered B & S relatively late, when Write About Love was released. Working my way through their back catalogue I discovered this record.
Two CDs, packed with songs you will learn to love and live with. I listened to nothing else for at least two weeks when I first heard it.. The melodies of Photo Jenny, Lazy Line, Le Pastie and Marx And Engels to name just a few will stick in your head all day!

It really is an essential album if you like this sort of thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2013
Awesome CD, full of top tunes never release, a must for any Belle and Sebastian Fan, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome
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Typical B&S - great vocals, a wide range of basic instrumentation and excellent song-writing. I understand that this double album contains leftover tracks from previous albums but to me it stands by itself as great music.
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on 10 November 2013
The delivery was done in an agency realy far from where I live and there was not plublic transport to get there so I had to go by feet (subway + 40min of walk to go and the same to go back)
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