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Boy With The Arab Strap

Belle and Sebastian Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 16.07 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Boy With The Arab Strap + If You're Feeling Sinister (Vinyl) + Tiger Milk
Price For All Three: CDN$ 64.90

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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

1. It Could Have Been A Brilliant Career
2. Sleep The Clock Around
3. Is It Wicked Not To Care?
4. Ease Your Feet In The Sea
5. A Summer Wasting
6. Seymour Stein
7. A Space Boy Dream
8. Dirty Dream Number Two
9. The Boy With The Arab Strap
10. Chickfactor
11. Simple Things
12. The Rollercoaster Ride

Product Description


The quiet power of this nuanced, restrained pop foray derives from a sly contradiction: An exterior of breezy pop melodies, tidy arrangements and fragile vocals belies the darkness within. -- USA Today

[Singer-songwriter Stuart] Murdoch can apparently make a witty yet heartfelt song out of anything that crosses his mind... -- Entertainment Weekly


This highly anticipated album from Belle and Sebastian arrives with every hope satisfied. Each song is a cunning short story that wraps itself around you like a cozy couch throw. The loose theme running through this 12-song reverie is seduction. It plays out in both the drowsy sexual hopes of principal songwriter Stuart Murdoch's idle protagonists and the giddiness of bandmate Stevie Jackson's "Seymour Stein" and "Chickfactor," which document his bewitchment by the city of New York and its beautiful girls and florid pitchmen. The complex arrangements favor a whimsical diversity best experienced in "Sleep the Clock Around," which features synthesizer bloops, trumpets, and bagpipes! If you haven't figured out that this Scottish eight-piece deserves every iota of hype it's receiving, it's time to have your ears checked and your record collection gone over by a certified professional. --Lois Maffeo

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good "Boy" June 13 2004
Format:Audio CD
Eight-person band Belle & Sebastian prove that pop is not confined to the brainless bubblegum genre. The melancholy melodies of "Boy With the Arab Strap" show Belle & Sebastian at their peak, with their gently complex music and quietly restrained pop songs.
"Arab Strap" starts off with "It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career," an elusive, quirky little tune that builds up from near silence. Following it up is the almost-catchy, percussive "Sleep the Clock Around," the darkly beautiful title track, the wistful "Summer Wasting," the lulling "Seymour Stein" with its magnificently shivery organ, and finally it finishes up with the pretty, downbeat "Rollercoaster Ride."
Nobody makes the sad stuff any prettier than Belle & Sebastian. "Boy With the Arab Strap" is not quite perfect -- "Seymour Stein," despite its lyrical brilliance, has a forgettable little tune, and the lyrics vary wildly. But their work here is certainly enjoyable and beautiful, balancing out the sweetness, the humor, the melancholy, and the coffee-shop-poet dissatisfaction with life.
The songs brim over with vague unhappiness, an ethereal sense of how the world is full of misery. It's best shown in "Boy With the Arab Strap": Stuart Murdoch sings with deceptive perkiness, "Do you ever feel you have gone too far?/Everyone suffers in silence a burden..." Murdoch let the others do several of the songs for this album, which gives a vague, weird feeling of creative unevenness.
Stuart Murdoch does most of the vocals, and his murmuring voice seems perfectly suited to the songs.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The delightful daydream continues... May 14 2004
By jessica
Format:Audio CD
Ok...So if you own beautiful precursor to this album 'If you're feeling sinister' you probably bought it at the start of winter and spent the next two months reading and humming along while riding on city buses for a hobby (to borrow a few words from our darling Stuart). Well, all you nerdy woolen-jumper-wearers, here is your album for spring, and possibly for summer too. 'Boy with the arab strap' lacks the lovely British-ness of '...sinister', but more than makes up for it with imaginative, pretty tunes and consistently brilliant lyrics. Of course it's all nice, but there's plenty that's, well, wonderful!!!!! 'Seymour Stein' is a glorious, mini-epic (I particularly love the line about the 'north country girl'!!!) and the title track is irresistable. I could gush all day, but instead will choose to highlight the thorn amongst a dozen roses which is 'A space boy dream'. Electronic music does not gel well with B&S's lovely lyricism (does anyone actually listen to 'Electronic renaissance' on 'Tigermilk') and disturbs the beautiful balance of the rest of the album. This minor quibble aside, this is a gorgeous album, and a must for all daydreamers, scrabble-players and bookworms.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Peter, Paul, and Mary for the new millennium Jan. 19 2004
Format:Audio CD
The Boy with the Arab Strap was my first foray into Belle & Sebastian. A combination of retro 60's sounding melodies, chord progressions, and sunshine and bubble-gum lyrics with a dash of angst brings together a modern day version of Peter, Paul, and Mary. The first play in my CD player, I wondered what I had wasted my money on. The second play, I started picking out a few songs I really liked, and by listening to them a few more times the album grew on me.
Like Rush's Geddy Lee, Stuart Murdoch's vocals take a few listens to get used to, and like Lee and Rush, many people will never give B&S a chance in spite of Murdoch's voice. It's a shame, since they're missing out on a great band that doesn't get enough credit.
The Boy with the Arab Strap is good, but not perfect. There are a few songs that are very forgettable and lyrically convoluted. Seymour Stein has a catchy hook, but feels like every other pop ballad released in the 60's and 70's. In A Space Boy Dream, Murdoch literally speaks a story, with a fast-paced postlude of jazzy music at the end that really has no listener value to non die-hard fans.
That being said, there are indeed some incredible tunes on this CD. It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career, A Summer Wasting, and Simple Things stand out quite well. But the highlight of the album is Dirty Dream Number Two. Think of The Doors Touch Me combined with Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual and you have Dirty Dream Number Two. It's an example of Belle & Sebastian at their finest.
The Boy with the Arab Strap has found a place on the small pile of CD's atop my CD player, ready to be inserted at any time. When I need a quick pick-me-up or a stress-reliever, it's the first album I play, though never from cover to cover.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The boy with the filthy laugh... Dec 3 2003
Format:Audio CD
"The Boy with the Arab Strap" for me shows a band unsure where to go. After the success of the low budget "If you're feeling sinister" album the band finally have the money to record an orchestral masterpiece that showcases the range they are capable of. Instead Stuart Murdoch bottles it. He lets his friends write and sing their own songs and the result is a somewhat incoherent and largely self-indulgent album. The lack of direction is best illustrated by looking at the center of the album. The magnificent "Summer Wasting" is followed up by "Seymour Stein", an attack at the famous record exec that comes across as childish and petulant, and "Space boy dream", where Stuart David showcases his poetry skills for the last time before leaving to concentrate on his "Looper" side project. "Dirty dream number two" also has a certain filler feel to it, leaving the title track, which is possibly the best track on the album, horrifically unsupported and practically carrying the rest of the album. Perhaps it was writers block, or perhaps the others nagged him for more record space, but compare "Chickfactor" to "The Boy with the Arab Strap" and then tell me this is Belle and Sebastian at their best...
"It's good - but it's not right".
P.S. The titular Arab Strap is a marital aid that constrictively enhances staying power. I don't believe it's available through amazon.com...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful album, pure and simple...
When I sit at home on a lazy summer day (bored as usual) there's a certain album that I can just lie in bed and let it take me away into another world. This album is it. Read more
Published on July 4 2004 by Shaggy
5.0 out of 5 stars If this album were a girl, I'd marry her.
I have not been this happy with an album purchase in a long time. I first heard the song "Boy With the Arab Strap" about a month ago. Read more
Published on March 12 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album
This is a superior album. Isobel's singing on "Is It Wicked To Care?" is really good, very simplistic and meaningful ("rusting armor for effect..."). Read more
Published on March 4 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid 3-star album
Belle & Sebastian's follow-up to 'If You're Feeling Sinister' is a bit of a letdown. Although every song is beautifully recorded, they are surprisingly dull. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2004 by SPM
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Sinister? Hmmmm.....
I love If You're Feeling Sinister more than words can explain, but I think The Boy With The Arab Strap might have it beat, in my book anyway. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003 by Paul H.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not good... but definetly not bad
I can't count how many times I have listened to "If you're feeling sinister". If you are a Belle and Sebastian fan, you know that most of their songs are written and sung... Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars If I could do just one near perfect thing I'd be happy
Has anyone actually looked up the word 'fey' in the dictionary? It means doomed, marked by a forboding of death or calamity, visionary. Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2003 by F. Beal
5.0 out of 5 stars consistantly amusing
I'll be honest, I hadn't even heard of B&S when I saw the cover and thought that it was one of the funniest things ever. But then i listened to it and it's become a favorite. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2003 by Cassandra Javotnik
4.0 out of 5 stars Sequin Spattered Sorbet Scarf
Most of my friends will never understand my fascination with B&S and I'm cool with that. I realize that this album is certainly not for everyone. Read more
Published on Oct. 6 2003 by Brandon S. Jones
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