Belle And Sebastian
Before this release, you would have had to fork over nearly 30 dollars to get the 12 songs contained within the 3 discs in this box set. Released at various times between their first album If You're Feeling Sinister and their second release The Boy With The Arab Strap, the three different EPs contain some of the best songs that the group has released to date.
The first of the set, the Lazy Line Painter Jane EP release, contains one of the most radio-hit sounding songs ever released by the group. While the instrumentation (although dabbling a bit into country) no doubt recalls work by the group, the two-part vocals (including somewhat overbearing female ones) make the track sound rock and roll, rather than just the usual rolicking the group usually captures. While the middle two tracks are more typical (one quiet track with Murdoch on vocals and another faster track), it's the closer with Stuart David called "A Century of Elvis" is the perfect ending. Like "Space Boy Dream" with beautiful backing instrumenation, the spoken-word track is sad and sweet.
Perhaps it's because of this instrumentation then, that the group use the very same backing for another song called "A Century Of Fakers" on their 3, 6, 9 Seconds Of Light EP. This time, Murdoch is on vocals, and although it's similar, it's just enough different to not seem like a hoax. The group kicks out the jams somewhat on the punchy "Le Pastie De La Bourgeoise." Poking fun at ravers and everyone else, the track is one of the catchiest they've ever done.
The disc closes with two other solid tracks before the 3rd and final EP, which is probably the weakest of the releases in the set (yet still pretty good). Besides another version of "The State That I Am In" off their Tigermilk release, the disc also contains the 'theme song' for the group called "Belle And Sebastian."
Overall, the box set is a great value for the music you get, especially considering the cost of buying them all on import. The only problem that I have is that all three CDs could have been put onto one disc and saved all the packaging (as well as those without a multidisc changer from having to swap discs every 20 minutes). Still, it's not a big deal and a great way to pick up the back catalogue of the group.