Much like the film Storytelling itself, which was drastically edited and censored before finally reaching theaters at a running time just short of 90 minutes, Belle & Sebastian's music for the movie barely appeared in the final cut. All of their work appears on Storytelling, for better or worse -- it's an occasionally jumbled, yet undeniably pleasant, collection that unsurprisingly feels like a hybrid of a proper Belle & Sebastian album and a more traditional film score. The strings, horns, and harmonicas that drive instrumental tracks like "Freak," "Night Walk," "Consuelo," and "Fuck This Shit" have a definite retro vibe that also extends to songs like "Wandering Alone" and "Black and White Unite," which sounds a bit like the band covering Simon & Garfunkel's soundtrack for The Graduate. Though some of the other songs, such as "I Don't Want to Play Football," are disappointingly short, more substantial songs like "Big John Shaft," the surprisingly upbeat "Scooby Driver," and the bouncy title track make the album worthwhile for die-hard Belle & Sebastian fans. The only real misstep is the inclusion of so much dialogue from the film -- it didn't work that well in the movie, and in this context it's especially distracting. In all, Storytelling is a frustrating release from Belle & Sebastian; it's not exactly a complete album, it's not as satisfying as their best EPs, and yet it displays enough of the group's charm that it's difficult to dismiss entirely.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares