Dear Catastrophe Waitress (Belle and Sebastian)

I had a really long OP, but I trimmed it to get the ball rolling.

I preordered the newest Belle and Sebastian album from B&N online in September, it was released October 7, but I didn’t get it until yesterday. I’ve been listening to it nonstop since then.
I’m not sure about how much I like it overall. I only asked for it to be better than Storytelling and it succeeds at least at that level.

Has anyone else out here given it a listen? What are your thoughts? (I’ll post mine if a discussion starts.)

I for one am THRILLED that B&S have moved from their Nick Drake phase into their Brian Wilson phase.

I like it. It’s been on constant replay since I got it a few days ago. (Next Isobel Campbell’s Amorino will have to take it’s place. Followed by Stereolab’s latest, which is sadly only an EP.)

I was trying to write a nice review of the entire CD as I listened to it, but I kept just mentioning specific songs. So, thats the post I will write. My thoughts on each song.

Step Into My Office, Baby
I love the sound of this song. Finger snapping beat, combined with Stuart’s lovely voice. Then, you get to the lyrics which are filled with these awful workplace euphemisms. I just imagine them writing this song and laughing uproariously at bad bad jokes. That makes me like it even more.

Dear Catastrophe Waitress
More fingersnapping. I like the stops and starts in this song. And, the up and down patterns of his voice as he sings the song. Another Belle and Sebastian song about an anonymous put upon female.

If She Wants Me
In listening to the CD, I thought of this CD as Belle and Sebastian jumping from a 60s sound to an 80s song. This is one of the songs that really made me think that. Some of the high ends of sentences really reminds me of Fine Young Cannibals. (I know it’s a stretch. I didn’t say exactly the same. It just reminded me.) Lyrics that I love: “If I could do just one near perfect thing I’d be happy” “On second thougst I’d rather hang about abe there with my best friend.”

Piazza, New York Catcher
A Glagslow band singing about a baseball player from New York. Talking about hanging out in San Francisco, and questioning the sexuality of the catcher. Fun. Acoustic guitar and Murdoch’s voice. Yeah. I liked it. It might be my favorite song on the CD.

Asleep on a Sunbeam
This is the song that is going to take me the longest to really stick with me. It just sounds very similar to other songs. That’s not a complaint. I adore Sarah’s voice. Sweet, and strong. It’s just not as much of a departure as most of this CD is.

I’m A Cuckoo
another song that has an 80s vibe to it. It might just be because the lyrics in this song are so similar to things I have been thinking about lately, but I think this song is ace. A belle and sebastian staple, sad lyrics mixed with happy fun music. Smiling your way through the pain.

You Don’t Send Me
The start of this song makes me want a margarita. And a beach. And some pineapple.

Wrapped Up In Books
As I go through the songs I find that I have less and less to say without repeating myself. I guess, I should have stuck with a review style. But, I already started. So, instead I will talk about the liner notes. They were top notch. I laughed at several points, and yes, the next time I can’t show up I will say “My aqaurium broke.”

Lord Anthony
Great song. A definite throwback to the old style of songs they were writing. I guess it was written back then, or they just wanted to write one so they could show that they still knew how to do it.

If You Find Yourself Caught In Love
Jovial pop song that makes you want to stand up and dance around. The song takes and abrupt sober turn by the end wordswise, but it never loses it’s fun happy sound.

Roy Walker
I like the part in the middle of the song when the music stops and it’s just singing and the clicking of fingers.

Stay Loose
New Wave meets Belle and Sebastian? Maybe. I don’t know. This song goes on forever, it seems. It’s a nice end to a great CD.
Clearly, writing about music is not my forte. I won’t be expecting a call from Rolling Stone, Spin or Archie Doouble Digest any day soon. I did love the CD. Truth be known, there is a lot from Storytelling I like (Scooby Driver. FUN!) So, might taste might not line up with most B+S fans who seem to hate that CD.

What I like most is how this CD sounds so new and different, while still sounding so entirely Belle and Sebastian.


I really like what I’ve heard from this album, which is admittedly only Step Into My Office Baby (anyone seen the video for that?) and Stay Loose. If the rest of the album’s thatgood, I’ll be very please - it’s certainly shaping up to be their best since If You’re Feeling Sinister (I haven’t heard Storytelling though.

Also, I think that if they did a remix of Step Into My Office Baby, with that funky opening bit, and added some hip hop beats and maybe a Jay-Z rap, they’d have guaranteed hit.

I doubt it’s going to happen. But damn that little bit makes me feel like dancing.

Heh. I couldn’t stay away from this thread! :slight_smile:

Anyway, I really like their new CD. It’s definitely better than Storytelling, which I really really hated, so that’s good. I’ve given it about half a dozen listens so far, and I think it’s growing on me to the point where I like it more than “Fold your hands, child…” For the record, I don’t think it’s as good as If You’re Feeling Sinister, but I don’t think anyone here has posited that.

So yeah, Belle and Sebastian are evolving, but in a good way. I think they’ve really reined in the schizophrenic style that the band seemed to be cultivating (which I guess is a natural result of having nine people in your band, all of whom want some sort of influence on your sound.)

My favorite songs are: If she wants me, Piazza, and I’m a Cuckoo. Oh, and Lord Anthony! Oh, and Wrapped up in books!

Has anyone else listened to Amorino, yet? Is it any good?

Nice. That post above? Should have been ME! The Wrong Girl! Damn, damn, damn! Ramanujan needs to clear his darn cookies.

Everyone seems to love it, and I’m rather ambivalent.

I think “Piazza, New York Catcher” has the prettiest melody Stuart has ever written, even if it is superfolky.
“Stay Loose” is probably my favorite song overall, even though it sounds the least like old Belle and Seb.
“Step Into My Office, Baby” seems to me like a lesser "Legal Man.
Belle and Sebastian show their influences more than they have in the past: Stuart sings like Smokey Robinson (or the Fine Young Cannibals) on “If She Wants Me,” “I’m a Cuckoo” sounds like Thin Lizzy, “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” is reminiscent of Love, and the chorus of “Roy Walker” could have been ripped from a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song.
“Asleep on a Sunbeam” confirms Sarah is a better singer and songwriter than Isobel was.
“Lord Anthony” is yet another one of Stuart’s stories about picked-on and misunderstood kids. Sounds the most like early Belle and Seb, but that’s because it’s been around since before the band was formed.
“You Don’t Send Me” and “Wrapped Up in Books” are not as catchy as the other songs, so I have to reserve judgment on them.
“If You Find Yourself Caught in Love” is classic Belle and Seb and is absolutely magnificent. This, “Stay Loose,” and “Piazza” are probably my favorite songs on the album.

pricciar, I didn’t hate Storytelling–I just found it to be less than stellar and incomplete sounding. “Scooby Driver” was the only song I fell in love with; the rest were just “blah.”

I don’t think Dear Catastrophe Waitress will ever ascend to the ranks of If You’re Feeling Sinister or The Boy With the Arab Strap (my personal favorite), but it’s a good strong album, and at least it doesn’t have any songs I hate. I think it’s a stronger album overall than Fold Your Hands, Child…, but it doesn’t seem to have as many standout classics as the other album did (“Don’t Leave the Light On, Baby,” “The Wrong Girl,” “I Fought in a War,” “Waiting for the Moon to Rise,” “The Model” and so on). Only time will tell how I really feel about the album.

I see what you are saying about Storytelling. It certainly doesn’t sound complete. I blamed that on the fact that the music was written for a movie, and control wasn’t entirely in their hands. That said, there are a few tracks I really like. “Fuck This Shit” (Maybe because it was so great to hear them open their shows with it.) “Scooby Driver”, “Wandering Alone,” and “Storytelling.”

The Wrong Girl
I like Amorino. I still need to listen a bunch more times to figure out fully how I feel. But, so far I like it a lot. It is very similar to the Gentle Waves CD I have. Swansong for You. Her voice is the centerpiece used in a myriad of musical styles.
I am glad to see that both The Wrong Girl and Lisa-Go-Blind replied to this post. I think that is all of the SDMB B+S inspired user names. :slight_smile:


pricciar, I really liked “Black and White Unite” as well. I’ve never understood the people who hate Stevie’s songs. he has some of the best–“Chickfactor,” “The Wrong Girl,” “Seymour Stein,” “Jonathan David,” “Winter Wooskie,” etc. I guess some fans are just resentful that he (and Stuart David, and Isobel, and Sarah) “stole” some album slots that should have been Stuart’s. Stevie was the saving grace behind Storytelling. Then again, I also have a bit of a thing for him.

To bring myself back on topic: over the weekend, I’ve listened to Dear Catastrophe Waitress a lot more, and I really appreciate it now. It does have great songs, and though I’d never place it as high as the first three albums, it’s a near classic that I think I’ll like even more as time goes on. It also sounds like a “transition” album to me. I bet their next will be even better.

I got the CD last week. I like it a whole lot – more so than even If You’re Feeling Sinister – chiefly because it is a consistent

Hmm, I swear I didn’t hit submit there.

… record with consistent writing and production. Currently, I’m enjoying “Roy Walker”, “I’m a Cuckoo” and “If You Find Yourself Caught in Love”, although I’ll probably get into the slower songs with time.

I think you mean Thin Lizzy-o, which is what they’re now called apparently. :slight_smile: My favourite track.

I think the singing on this record is the best they’ve ever done. Very probably all in the Trevor Horn production.

“Stay Loose” is out of place on this record. Totally unlike all the other tracks and very 1981.

I don’t really count “Storytelling” as a proper B&S record, so comparisons with that aren’t really valid. But “Fold Your Hands” was a disappointment too, so either way Dear Catastrophe Waitress is a step forward.

Has anyone, anywhere been able to work out what exactly Stuart is wittering on about on the sleeve notes?

I made the comment about “I’m a Cuckoo” sounding like Thin Lizzy before I even figured out that lyric. :slight_smile:

To add to my gush on Stevie earlier–the way he sings “the Lord’s choreography” on “Roy Walker” always makes me giggle.