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Dear Catastrophe Waitress


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Frequently Bought Together

Dear Catastrophe Waitress + If You're Feeling Sinister (Vinyl) + Life Pursuit
Price For All Three: CDN$ 64.29

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 7 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Music Canada
  • ASIN: B0000CBHQ1
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #78,441 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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

Product Description

Vinyl reissue out Oct 7 2014, includes MP3 download coupon. Now available from Matador with alternate cover art.

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

Amazon.ca

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


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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Evans on 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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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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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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