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Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Belle and Sebastian Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.95
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Frequently Bought Together

Dear Catastrophe Waitress + If You're Feeling Sinister (Vinyl) + The Boy With The Arab Strap LP + Download
Price For All Three: CDN$ 70.54

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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

1. Step Into My Office, Baby
2. Dear Catastrophe Waitress
3. If She Wants Me
4. Piazza, New York Catcher
5. Asleep On A Sunbeam
6. I'm A Cuckoo
7. You Don't Send Me
8. Wrapped Up In Books
9. Lord Anthony
10. If You Find Yourself Caught In Love
11. Roy Walker
12. Stay Loose

Product Description


Dear Catastrophe Waitress was a make or break album for Belle & Sebastian. Having lost two founder members (Stuart David to Looper and Isobel Campbell to the Gentle Waves) and produced a couple of endearing but not hugely exciting albums (their soundtrack to Todd Solondz's Storytelling film and their own Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant), the pressure was on for the Scottish indie-pop six-piece to provide a startling return to form.

The presence of Trevor Horn (the man behind Tatu and Frankie Goes to Hollywood) as producer suggested that a stylistic leap was imminent. But would it be at the cost of the group's unique charm? Thankfully not. Chief songwriter Stuart Murdoch has clearly been listening to a lot of Randy Newman and Joe Jackson, along with a touch of Thin Lizzy, and Horn manages to meld these new influences with the trademark B&S sound. "Step into My Office Baby" is orchestral pop with a cheeky, almost raucous bent. "If She Wants Me" pulls off a flirtation with Orange Juice-style funk, while "Stay Loose" could be Squeeze covering "Space Oddity". On the more traditional B&S songs (the title track, "Wrapped Up in Books", live favourite "Lord Anthony"), the ante is upped simply by the quality of songwriting, which is a match for anything from the Tigermilk glory days.

For a band whose best work seemed long behind them, Dear Catastrophe Waitress is just what was ordered. Not simply a return to form, but a bright new future. --Ian Watson

Product Description

Their classic 2003 album available on double vinyl with gatefold and MP3 coupon. Includes the hit singles, "Step Into My Office, Baby" and "I'm A Cuckoo". "Murdoch's gift for loopy, tender, unshakeable hymns, stomps, and meditations is untouchable" - Blender. "The painstaking arrangements, dynamic shifts and tempo changes equal or surpass the chamber-pop perfection of the group's earlier work" - Popmatters.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best...Album....Ever Oct. 12 2003
Format:Audio CD
I had written a praising but critical review on this album. I just scratched it because now I think the album is perfect. Stuart Murdoch is a completely unpretentious and honest songwriter, and he's one of the best songwriters ever, up there with old Lennon and McCartney. Seriously. And they put together such a great album. It's very eclectic, but not un-naturally so. I've been listening to nothing but this album for months, and every once in a while I'll go back and listen to the old stuff. I still find it to be some of the best music I've ever heard, but I'm completely caught in the charm of DCW right now. I really like the new direction, and they've signed a 5-record contract with Rough Trade records! This is only the first one. I can't wait to hear what they do next!
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Format:Audio CD
An earlier reviewer made passing reference to the use of Belle & Sebastian in the movie High Fidelity. This strikes me as the perfect vehicle to describe my reaction to Dear Catastrophe Waitress. I have played earlier B & S albums for my friends, and I've received reviews not unlike Barry (Jack Black)'s "sad bastard music" comment as he barrels into Rob (John Cusack)'s record store armed with the cheery tones of Katrina and the Waves, only to be greeted with the cold air of Belle & Sebastian. I keep them in a special section of my collection which I call "Wimpy Brit Pop". It's some of my favorite material, but I can't play it for anyone.
Dear Catastrophe Waitress is a different story. Later on in High Fidelity, Rob says with confidence, "I will now sell five copies of The 3 EPs by The Beta Band." He cues up the chorus of Dry the Rain, and everyone in the store starts bouncing. Someone asks him within seconds who it is. That's how my friends are responding to Dear Catastrophe Waitress. Belle & Sebastian have turned a corner with a little help from Trevor Horn. This album appeals not to a different crowd, but to a much larger, more inclusive one.
Arab Strap and Sinister reside in my "Top fifty albums I can't play for people" list.
Dear Catastrophe Waitress is in my Top fifty albums, Period.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The State They're In May 19 2004
Format:Audio CD
I was not initially drawn to this album. I missed the faux stylization of previous releases such as on tracts like "The Wrong Girl" and the very navel gazing storytelling behind "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying" and "The State I Am In". The music is less self-consciously deprecating here and the lyrics read less like internal musings and more like something intended--however problematically--for an audience. In essence, it was hard to get used to the newfound extrovertedness of B&S (or the funny feeling that they set out to make a more commercial record that compromised their introverted strengths---sort of how Paul Simon seemed to become much more self-important, pushy and unsubtle post his Simon & Garfunkle days).
However, the album has grown on me tremendously. I consider "If You Find Yourself Caught in Love" to be an epiphany of sorts for the group (and I have my own religious biases for enjoying the message) and have come to consider "I'm a Cuckoo" to be a confessional song of sorts--still interiorly situated but with the realistic awareness that the personal and interior life of the artist implies an audience. I imagine Stuart Murdoch giving his the listener a "private audience" into some night spent writing lyrics in a hotel room when the "last thing" he'd want around is an audience. In other words, it's the lyrics now that are now at odds with the performer's intentions as opposed to the older B&S fundamental tension between the too candy sweet taste and texture of the sounds and the remorse and anxiety conveyed by the accompanying lyrics. That's how I find this album less stylized and arch and more personable and robust.
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4.0 out of 5 stars their 4th best album May 1 2004
Format:Audio CD
Since there are already 115 reviews you probably already know that I'm a fan that I feel compelled to write. Part of my reason for writing this is to correct the impression that some may have gotten, based on the spotlight review that this is "Christian Band" Unless you consider the following lyric particularly Christian . . . "If you feeling sinister go off and see a minister, he'll try in vain to take away the pain of being a hopeless non-believer. . . Chances are you'll probably feel better
If you stayed and played with yourself. While that was a lyric from another album, I think it conveys more of a spirit of someone conflicted by christianity, than some trying to evangelize.
B&S has always made songs about inner turmoil yet wrapped them up in sugary sweet melodies. To me this on of the defining characteristic of pop music, the ability to capture a moment, mood a phrase, a look, a glanse, a glimpse and pull more meaning that you ever imagined out of it. And at the same time you have to take that poignance and put it to a melody that will let most people enjoy it even when they have no idea what the lyric is. Belle and Sebastian are the masters of that, and therefore the best pop band in the world.
This album is a departure, and thankfully so. The previously mention holy trinity (Tigermilk, Sinister & Arab Strap) reached a perfection so impossible to touch it would have sunk any other band. Peasant had a few moments but it was suffering for a band looking for new directions. Catastrophe Waitress is not perfect but it is does contain some great music. "I'm a Cookoo" is not a song for the heavily pretentious. Many others will comment that the horns make it "too overproduced.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a Cuckoo
Belle and Sebastian, yes, the large band from overseas that have brought us tons of great depressing songs, have created the perfect pop album. Read more
Published on July 17 2004 by "ivebeenupallnight"
5.0 out of 5 stars maybe "too good" for some...
Reading some of the negative reviews of this album, I get the feeling that B&S are probably the band with the most critical fans ever... Read more
Published on July 4 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
This was the first B&S album that I ever bought, based on reccommandations from some indie-rock/pop friends, a purchase I don't regret for an instant. Read more
Published on June 30 2004 by Guy
4.0 out of 5 stars Bright, shiney, delicious pop!
I'd kinda stopped listening to Belle & Sebastian's output after "If You're Feeling Sinister" - so I wasn't sure what to expect here. Read more
Published on June 8 2004 by aloverofgreysilentdays
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Whimsical Listen
Excellent album, highlighted by the singles, and the strongest track, 'If She Wants Me'. Being my first Belle and Sebastian experience I was pleasantly surprised and after... Read more
Published on June 7 2004 by Ziggy
3.0 out of 5 stars plaid...with stripes
This CD is like when you wear plaid with stripes. It is a mixed up-don't know what I wanna be sorta problem. The band sounds great but it is too much of this and that. Read more
Published on May 30 2004 by "corenaboo"
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommendation
This CD was recommended to me from Amazon so I thought I would check it out. I thought Belle & Sebastian was sort of dull in the past. I got a few of the records previously. Read more
Published on April 24 2004 by alexander laurence
2.0 out of 5 stars Horrifyingly disappointing
I gave this album 2 stars because it's the worst B&S album to date. Here's why:
1. The lyrics are corny. Read more
Published on April 19 2004 by Ella Quin
3.0 out of 5 stars Stay Tuned...
...because this album is a strong indicator that Belle & Sebastian will soon find their footing and release another great album. Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by Brooke Pennington
5.0 out of 5 stars greatly rewarding
I was, like many others, incredibly disappointed with this album when I first listened to it. It was too peppy, some songs went on forever, and the religious references in "If... Read more
Published on April 8 2004 by race_of_doom
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