God help The Girl - God Help The Girl Album Review
Glorious pop. Hooray !
Albums like God Help The Girl don't come along very often, so grab it.
This 'project', which has been going on for some five years, has been a complex business. Firstly, Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch needed a singer, so, as you do, you run a competition to find one, or more, online, and ads in papers and shops.
The result of this 'musical story' is quite stunning in as much it's what pop music has been missing for about a generation, or even two come to that. It seems to pick up the bits (and fill the gaps) of the halcyon days of pop in the sixties, that the 70s, 8os and 90s missed out on.
Murdoch eventually settled for nine different singers, all young ladies with potential glittering careers ahead of them, like Catherine Ireton in particular.
Also on board is The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon who knows a thing or two about classy pop tunes, a 45 piece orchestra - conducted by Rick Wentworth (Withnail & I fame) along with other Belle and Sebastian members.
Apart from the 60s Doris Day feel in places, this sumptuous album could fit nicely alongside your Tamla Motown, Beautiful South, Mamas and Papas and chamber-pop heroes Antony and The Johnsons, collections. Comparisons with the latter style can be heard on the string heavy Pretty Eve In The Tub.
Thrown into the mix is an all too short - just over a minute - jaunty instrumental A Unified Theory which Dave Brubeck fans will identify with.
The hippified ballad Hiding Neath My Umbrella , and a gorgeous one it is too, with swirling strings and ivory tinklings by Stevie Jackson, features the combined singing talents of Stuart Murdoch, Catherine Ireton and Celia Garcia, making it one of the stand out tracks here. Thing is, they're all so good.
This is followed by an exquisite cover of B&S's single Funny Little Frog, from 2006. Brittany Stallings' vocals are amazing.
Murdoch couldn't have chosen a better muse in Hannon who leads Perfect As A Hipster. The melody and girl harmonies by Ireton, Garcia and Alex Klobouk are reminiscent of the trick deployed by Wall-Of-Sound exponent Phil Spector.
Dipping into the West Coast sound, the honeyed Californian pop of I'll Have To Dance With Cassie draws heavily on the Mamas and Papas's universal appeal, with Ireton giving arguably her finest performance.
It's a tough call, honestly, choosing the best track because they're all well written and performed, but I'm compelled to say it's the John Barry-esque Come Monday Night that wins, hands down.
The verdict - Ab Fab.
You may be interested in
- Wed 28th Sep 2016 to Fri 10th Feb 2017 Southern Tenant Folk UnionBuy Tickets
- Thu 29th Sep 2016 to Fri 14th Oct 2016 Mystery Jets, The Big MoonBuy Tickets
- Thu 29th Sep 2016 to Fri 7th Oct 2016 The KillsBuy Tickets
- Sun 2nd Oct 2016 Blue OrchidsGullivers Bar (Northern Quarter)Buy Tickets
- Tue 4th Oct 2016 to Wed 12th Oct 2016 Mystery JetsBuy Tickets
- Thu 6th Oct 2016 to Sun 29th Jan 2017 The FallBuy Tickets
- Sat 8th Oct 2016 to Sat 25th Mar 2017 The Monochrome SetBuy Tickets
- Thu 20th Oct 2016 to Fri 11th Nov 2016 Scott and Charlene's WeddingBuy Tickets
- Sat 22nd Oct 2016 to Sat 10th Dec 2016 Henry PriestmanBuy Tickets
- Sun 23rd Oct 2016 to Thu 27th Oct 2016 WarpaintBuy Tickets
- Tue 25th Oct 2016 The VeilsKOKO (Camden)Buy Tickets
- Sun 30th Oct 2016 to Fri 4th Nov 2016 Killing JokeBuy Tickets
- Thu 3rd Nov 2016 The Raincoats, Angel Olsen: Rough Trade's 40thIslington Assembly Hall [Town Hall] (Islington)Buy Tickets
- Fri 4th Nov 2016 and Sat 5th Nov 2016 The WoodentopsBuy Tickets
- Sat 5th Nov 2016 and Fri 11th Nov 2016 The RaincoatsBuy Tickets
- Fri 11th Nov 2016 Pantha Du Prince, Illuminations FestivalElectric (Brixton)Buy Tickets
- Mon 14th Nov 2016 to Thu 24th Nov 2016 The Pop GroupBuy Tickets
- Mon 21st Nov 2016 Jens LekmanOslo (Hackney)Buy Tickets
- Wed 23rd Nov 2016 to Fri 12th May 2017 Cara DillonBuy Tickets
- Wed 23rd Nov 2016 to Wed 30th Nov 2016 Alasdair RobertsBuy Tickets
- Tue 29th Nov 2016 The Hidden CamerasThe Lexington (London)Buy Tickets
- Wed 30th Nov 2016 to Sat 17th Dec 2016 Super Furry Animals: Fuzzy Logic / RadiatorBuy Tickets
- Sat 28th Jan 2017 Hookworms, The Fall, Future of the LeftO2 Forum (Kentish Town)Buy Tickets
- Thu 13th Apr 2017 to Wed 5th Jul 2017 Eddi ReaderBuy Tickets