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
- Thu 23rd Feb 2017 to Fri 24th Nov 2017 Alasdair RobertsBuy Tickets
- Thu 23rd Feb 2017 to Fri 31st Mar 2017 The FallBuy Tickets
- Tue 28th Feb 2017 to Sat 2nd Dec 2017 Cara DillonBuy Tickets
- Sat 4th Mar 2017 to Sun 28th May 2017 The Monochrome SetBuy Tickets
- Sun 5th Mar 2017 Trembling Bells, Mike Heron, Alasdair RobertsThe Continental (Preston)Buy Tickets
- Mon 6th Mar 2017 to Wed 29th Mar 2017 Stiff Little FingersBuy Tickets
- Wed 15th Mar 2017 to Sat 25th Mar 2017 Stiff Little Fingers, Theatre of HateBuy Tickets
- Fri 17th Mar 2017 and Sun 23rd Apr 2017 Kathryn WilliamsBuy Tickets
- Wed 22nd Mar 2017 to Wed 29th Mar 2017 WarpaintBuy Tickets
- Fri 24th Mar 2017 to Fri 31st Mar 2017 Johnny FlynnBuy Tickets
- Sat 25th Mar 2017 The Hidden CamerasSoup Kitchen (Manchester)Buy Tickets
- Tue 28th Mar 2017 to Sat 1st Apr 2017 Jens LekmanBuy Tickets
- Thu 6th Apr 2017 to Thu 13th Apr 2017 British Sea PowerBuy Tickets
- Thu 13th Apr 2017 to Wed 5th Jul 2017 Eddi ReaderBuy Tickets
- Fri 28th Apr 2017 and Sun 30th Apr 2017 The Nightingales, Blue OrchidsBuy Tickets
- Sat 20th May 2017 Emma Pollock, Rachel Sermanni, Kathryn Joseph, Karine Polwar...: Kate Bush, A Celebration ofO2 ABC (Glasgow)Buy Tickets
- Sat 20th May 2017 The Libertines, The Coral, Reverend and the Makers, The Amaz...Prenton Park [Tranmere Rovers FC] (Birkenhead)Buy Tickets
- Sat 27th May 2017 Liverpool SoundCity, Metronomy, The Kills, Slaves, Peaches, ...Clarence Dock Arena (Liverpool)Buy Tickets
- Sun 28th May 2017 Transformer [event], Swans, The Fall, This Is Not This Heat,...Victoria Warehouse (Manchester)Buy Tickets
- Sun 28th May 2017 Margate Wonderland, The Kills, Carl Barât and the Jack...Dreamland (Margate)Buy Tickets
- Tue 30th May 2017 The KillsO2 Shepherds Bush Empire (Shepherds Bush)Buy Tickets
- Sat 10th Jun 2017 Isle of Wight Festival, Arcade FireSeaclose Park (Newport [Isle of Wight])Buy Tickets
- Tue 13th Jun 2017 Arcade Fire, BelsonicOrmeau Park (Belfast)Buy Tickets
- Wed 14th Jun 2017 Arcade FireMalahide Castle (Dublin)More Info..
- Thu 15th Jun 2017 Live at Chelsea, Belle and SebastianThe Royal Hospital (Chelsea)Buy Tickets
- Sat 17th Jun 2017 and Sun 18th Jun 2017 Live at Chelsea, Ludovico EinaudiBuy Tickets
- Thu 6th Jul 2017 Arcade Fire, Sounds of the CityCastlefield Bowl (Castlefield)Buy Tickets
- Fri 7th Jul 2017 TRNSMT, Radiohead, Belle and Sebastian, London Grammar, Rag ...Glasgow Green (Glasgow)Buy Tickets
- Sat 8th Jul 2017 TRNSMT, Kasabian, Catfish and the Bottlemen, George Ezra, Th...Glasgow Green (Glasgow)Buy Tickets
- Sun 9th Jul 2017 TRNSMT, Biffy Clyro, The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club, Twin At...Glasgow Green (Glasgow)Buy Tickets
- Thu 20th Jul 2017 Belle and SebastianIveagh Gardens (Dublin)Buy Tickets