Belle and Sebastian

Legal Man

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Didn't see this nonentity coming. Four previous EPs offered plenty of (completely) non-LP delights amazingly on par with the band's fabulous four-pack of full-lengths. But this release is so much their low point, it's like your D- that your teacher threw out, since you got A's on all your other papers. For a group that had so effortlessly incorporated small '60s influences with a hush rock Smiths/Go-Betweens/Field Mice aesthetic, "Legal Man"'s attempt at a boppy, mod, later-'60s ditty falls flat for its lack of an adequate verse or chorus. Zzzzz. The Maisonettes' backing vocals further sound sour, and the lyrics are college-boy clever but badly underachieve for this bunch -- continuing the analogy, it sounds like it was dashed down just before class. Worse, "Judy Is a Dick Slap" has the same flaws in the same style, only it's a trifling instrumental (with a needlessly perverse title), so you don't even get some minor-league wit. Finally, "Winter Wooksie" tries its best to rescue this misadventure, with its more trademark piano and melting, lulling pop. But though the hooks come back from their lunch break, it's merely an average tune, not enough to compete with the glut of great works Stuart Murdoch and co. have offered before. Spoiled? Sure! But that doesn't mean you have to give them a pass when they play hooky like this.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
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