From Publishers Weekly
Scottish music journalist Whitelaw delivers the first account of idiosyncratic, media-shy Glaswegian indie-rock darlings Belle & Sebastian. A product of the musical vision of University of Glasgow student Stuart Murdoch, Belle & Sebastian recorded its first record, Tigermilk
(a collection of 10 catchy, lyrically engaging songs), in 1996 as part of a university course, and eventually signed to the independent label Jeepster. After the release of an acclaimed second record, If You're Feeling Sinister
, life in the band became increasingly difficult. At the time of its signing, Belle & Sebastian, which has had numerous members including horn and string players, was essentially a studio entity enacting Murdoch's musical vision, and the band struggled with live performances. Internally, the band was a mess of self-doubt and clashing personalities, exacerbated by Murdoch's doomed romance with cellist and charter member Isobel Campbell, who left in 2002. While hitting the major beats of the band members' lives and careers, Whitelaw is annoyingly reverential to his subjects. Written with band cooperation, the book shambles along (to use a phrase often associated with the group's rare live shows) with frustratingly little insight, even if it does offer illumination, if for no other reason than that the band has always been studiously committed to staying out of the press. (Aug.)
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In the eight years since their first release, Belle and Sebastian have grown from a secretive cult concern into one of the most beloved and revered pop’n’roll bands in the world. Intelligent and sensitive, witty and original, beautiful and bold, their music inspires the kind of devotion not seen since the The Smiths. Their continuing desire to push the boundaries of their vision has resulted in some of the most essential and idiosyncratic records of recent times.
In this, the first biography of Belle and Sebastian, Paul Whitelaw traces their unpredictable personal and creative curve. With all original interviews and personal photos from the band Belle and Sebastian: Just A Modern Rock Story is the definitive account of the clandestine world and continuing rise of the unique and fascinating musical phenomenon that is Belle and Sebastian.