‘Wrapped Up In Books’ / ‘Your Cover’s Blown’
Belle & Sebastian bounce back from the biggest hit of their career (‘I’m A Cuckoo’, No. 14) with a brand new epic single matched as a double A-side with the catchiest song from their highly catchy recent hit album, ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’.
‘Books’ comprising ‘Your Cover’s Blown’ and ‘Wrapped Up In Books’ acts as, er, bookends to Belle & Sebastian model 2004, taking in the quintessential candy-coated bittersweet pop of ‘Wrapped Up In Books’ at one end, and the more expansive episodic ‘Your Cover’s Blown’ at the other. Both display a band hitting new heights of form (and content).
In many ways ‘You Cover’s Blown’ picks up where the ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’ album left off, taking up the intriguing threads left by closing track ‘Stay Loose’. In the context of the album ‘Stay Loose’ sounded like a thrilling anomaly, a new. deeper registered Stuart Murdoch pitched somewhere betwixt The Clash’s Mick Jones near eponymous ‘Stay Free’ and ‘Up The Junction’-era (i.e. good) Squeeze. With the arrival of ‘Your Cover’s Blown’, however, it’s beginning to sound like a new direction.
‘Your Cover’s Blown’, a six-minute, three-movement bona fide rock epic in the old style, starts as an slinky, etiolated funk work-out borrowing from the Doobie Brothers, before mutating into surf-guitar-meets-Love-at-the-rodeo section and then finally settling its account as a downbeat sing-a-long. What it indicates in terms of B&S’s future is perhaps too early to tell, what is clear, however, is that it’s one of the best things the band have yet done.
Click here for the new ‘Books’ E-card
The video for ‘Wrapped Up In Books’, meanwhile, features Alexandra Klobouk, the proud winner of the international search for the ultimate “Catastrophe Waitress” run from a German radio station. Sadly, the owner of the Berlin restaurant where she worked couldn’t see her coronation as the indie business opportunity it so obviously was and sacked her on the spot. Still, she makes a great B&S gurl in the grand tradition thereof and can surely look forward to a bright future ironing in the buff or, as here, wearing glasses in a suitably book-ish-yet-hot way.
Elsewhere, the Belles have confirmed their appearance at Glastonbury as well as huge summer shows for both London and their home city of Glasgow, the latter a free show that will be the biggest ever headliner of the band’s career. At the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow on June 12, the Belles will be joined by a host of local bands including V-Twin, Camera Obscura, Trashcan Sinatras, Mother & The Addicts and The James Orr Complex. 10,000 people are expected to show up for the huge freebie, which surely represents the band’s greatest gift to their hometown since Mick gave Alex a bass, told him to do something useful with it and Franz Ferdinand were born. For the two shows at Somerset House, London on June 17 and 18, they will come in the company of The Shins.
Book tickets through ticketmaster.co.uk
Finally, ‘Step into My Office, Baby’, the first single taken from ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’ is keeping the high-falutin’ company (sic) of Dido and Will Young in the category of Best Song Musically & Lyrically at this year’s Ivor Novello awards. Who knows, from the miscreants behind the high-jacking of the Brits Best newcomer award a few years back, they may be worth a shilling or two…
Remember, ‘Wrapped Up In Books’ / ‘Your Cover’s Blown’ out on Rough Trade on June 21.