Review: Belle and Sebastian – The Third Eye Centre
Published on September 3rd, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
The Third Eye Centre is a collection of Belle and Sebastian B-sides from their Rough Trade years (2003-2013), a broader view of their less-celebrated yet still creatively fertile latter-day career.
Things start gloriously with The Avalanches’ flute-topped remix of joyous Dear Catastrophe Waitress cut “I’m a Cuckoo”, leaving Rocksucker to wonder a) where the hell are Avalanches, anyway? and b) would they by any chance fancy doing a whole album with B&S?
Joys come thick and fast, not least the psychedelic bossa nova cruise of “Love on the March”, the blissed-out sway of “Long Black Scarf”, the bouncy Ray Davies odd-pop of “Last Trip”, and the countrified fun of “Stop, Look and Listen”, itself reminiscent of a mid-to-late-’60s Kinks outtake (resoundingly a good thing, in case you were wondering).
There are more unexpected pleasures too, like surf instrumental “Passion Fruit” and the calypso-punk blast of “Mr Richard”. Miaoux Miaoux’s remix of “Your Cover’s Blown” is pretty ace too, a disco stomp buzzing with synth bass which then makes a sudden beeline for pulsing electro.
Less successful – or more, depending on your point of view – is Richard X’s rendering of “I Didn’t See It Coming”, which winds up sounding unnervingly like some ’80s disco pop cheese-fest.
Aside from its superb title, the kind-of-dubby skank of “The Eighth Station of the Cross Kebab House” is also blessed with some truly winning lyrics, climaxing with the Half-Man-Half-Biscuit-tastic* “He listens to hip hop in Gaza / She listens to Coldplay in Lod”.
(* At least in isolation, it is – the song is in fact taken from War Child’s Help!: A Day in the Life compilation, and as such would presumably have a degree of seriousness about it.)
Chuck in the ‘solo Lennon’-ish “Meat and Potatoes” and you’ve got yourself a splendid set of songs there, mister. In fact, The Third Eye Centre makes for a tidy Belle and Sebastian album in its own right.
The Third Eye Centre is out now on Rough Trade.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!