As one of the intermittent non-LP clearing houses Belle & Sebastian occasionally release, The Third Eye Centre performs a useful service for dedicated fans while offering a roundly enjoyable B&S record for those who don't keep tallies of individual singles. Unlike Push Barman to Open Old Wounds, which rounded up the tight, purposeful EPs of the late '90s and singles of the early days of the new millennium, The Third Eye Centre plays a bit like a warehouse of B-sides. Some of this is due to the handful of remixes scattered throughout the 18-track album -- it opens with the Avalanches remix of "I'm a Cuckoo," and mixes of "Your Cover's Blown" and "I Didn't See It Coming" arrive later -- as they're within the band's aesthetic yet sonically different. Some of this is also due to Belle & Sebastian cannily crafting their finished albums; everything on 2006's The Life Pursuit and 2010's Write About Love fit perfectly, so what didn't show up on the albums were bound to be strays. And strays they are, as The Third Eye Centre proves, but nearly every individual song offers something worthwhile, whether it's the headlong, swinging rush of "Suicide Girl," the brightly-colored, bespangled blues of "Last Trip," or Stevie Jackson's melancholy ballad "I Took a Long Hard Look." Part of the pleasure is hearing B&S stretch into reggae ("The Eight Station of the Cross Kebab House") or jazz ("Long Black Scarf") or funky country rock ("(I Believe In) Travelin' Light") or frenetic new wave ("Mr. Richard") or swaying doo wop ("Meat and Potatoes"), as each element belongs within their sound; but individually, none of these songs would've fit their respective albums. Taken together, they're still a bit of a mess but the joy in The Third Eye Centre is that it presents Belle & Sebastian at their most human and ungainly.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine