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Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant

4.0 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 3 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B00004T8ZB
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,712 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. I Fought In A War
2. The Model
3. Beyond The Sunrise
4. Waiting For The Moon To Rise
5. Don't Leave The Light On, Baby
6. The Wrong Girl
7. The Chalet Lines
8. Nice Day For A Sulk
9. Woman's Realm
10. Family Tree
11. There's Too Much Love

Product Description

Product Description

The long-awaited fourth album from Glasgow's pop wizards explores new depths of emotion and melancholy amidst a background of orchestrated strings and Northern Soul-inspired horns.


Belle & Sebastian's songs have always been instantly familiar while simultaneously original and unexpected. Listening to Belle & Sebastian, you have the inexplicable feeling that you have heard these songs somewhere before, filed away with the mothballs of your youth, or that, maybe, you have stumbled upon long-lost tapes of a young Nick Drake being backed by Village Green Preservation Society-era Kinks under the production of some low-rent Phil Spector. The fact that Belle & Sebastian have arrived at their distinct, anachronistic sound quite naturally and by accident is a large part of their charm. It's not surprising, then, that Belle & Sebastian's fourth full-length record, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant, has arrived with the band's sincerity intact. What is surprising, however, is the record itself: an eclectic mix of the soulful and the sublime, something of a departure for the band. Unlike their last record, the amazing Boy with the Arab Strap, the songs here are not instantly recognizable, but more subtle. The hooks don't automatically grab; instead, the songs' intent is to break you down, seeping into your bloodstream and working on you from the inside out like an infection.

The eclectic feel of the record owes itself to the fact that this is, by far, Belle & Sebastian's most "record by committee" affair yet, with songwriting contributions from several different band members and songs that seem to have been built up from simple ideas into lush orchestral pieces with the musical input of the band's many different instrumentalists. While Stuart Murdoch still writes and sings the bulk of the material, he collaborates with bandmates on a number of songs, including the delicately soulful "Don't Leave the Light on Baby," written with keyboardist Chris Geddes. Unfortunately, songs by Belle & Sebastian cofounder and bassist Stuart David are not to be found on Fold Your Hands (he left the band during the recording). However, violinist Sarah Martin contributes her first song with the haunting "Waiting for the Moon to Rise," while cellist Isobel Campbell adds the record's most surprising track, "Beyond the Sunrise," sounding like a lost Leonard Cohen gem with its spare and fragile arrangement. Guitarist Stevie Jackson, who contributed some of the better songs on Arab Strap, manages only one on this outing, but it's one of the best: "The Wrong Girl," a tale of misplaced love juxtaposed against swinging Spector- like strings and horns. By the time the band reaches "Women's Realm," an infectious, life-affirming romp, the record's message, although never spelled out, is clear: Through all the melancholy and solitude and terrible things that could go wrong, life is still worth fighting for. --Paul Ducey

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
With their fourth album Stuart and the Bellenders are covering familiar ground here. The challenge is, as always, how to move on as a group and yet not leave behind the fans who love your older stuff. Well, as we've seen before, the B&S back catalogue is a struggle; torn between their lo-fi roots and the big production now available to them they end up compromising their sound, trying to recreate the old days in a new environment. This album achieves that better than "The Boy with The Arab Strap" (for me the low point of their entire career), and begins to hint at the changes in store for the future.
FYHCYWLAP is possibly the bleakest album they've released, however it contains some of the best songs they've written. Album opener "I Fought In A War" and the chilling "Chalet Lines" show a real emotional depth that flies in the face of critics that try to peg them as lightweight or twee. "Chalet Lines", with it's tale of date rape at a holiday camp is very difficult to listen to - we're not accustomed to hearing songs with this much power in our power pop records, and the first person narration makes it infinitely more unsettling. The closest analogue I can think of in pop music is the Smiths track "Reel around the Fountain"...
By way of injecting some black comedy into the proceedings the band then follow up this masterpiece on the album with the throwaway, but still pretty, "Nice Day for a sulk", an intentional irony I'm sure, most notable for the attempt to rhyme "sulk" with "milk"...
On the whole it's definitely not the best B&S album ("Beyond the sunrise" alone guarantees that...), but it contains moments to rival any of the others ("The Model") and it should be part of any music fans library.
PS. The Penguin Paperback featured on the cover ("I fought in a War") is entirely fictional.
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Format: Audio CD
I like Belle & Sebastian in spite of myself. I realize their flaws but at their best (as on "Boy With The Arab Strap") they fill a niche that no other band can, and do it with wit and style.
Unfortunately almost all of that wit and style are missing here. To sum up, the Stuart Murdoch songs on here are pretty good, if very gloomy; not his best but certainly not throwaways. The problem with the Murdoch songs is that they sound a lot like Belle & Sebastian "doing" Belle & Sebastian. That is, there's a certain amount of self-referential, unintentionally self-parodic stuff going on. The lyrics are not as sharp and witty and in some cases the new songs sound like old ones. "Nice Day For A Sulk," in particular, is simply a rewrite of "The Boy With The Arab Strap" slowed down with different lyrics. In short, the Murdoch songs are acceptable but not great.
The songs by the other band members, on the other hand, are largely awful. The guy with the groaning, tuneless voice and the labored classical guitar who does "Beyond the Sunrise" should immediately take up accountancy, BECAUSE I NEVER WANT TO HEAR HIM SING AGAIN. EVER. The Isobel-sung songs are hampered by her voice, which is frankly quite weak, and "Family Tree" is too wispy even to be called twee. It dissolves into inanity before it even reaches your ears. I may be in the minority but I think the band will get along fine without Isobel Campbell.
Overall this album is a real disappointment. It's scattered, unfocused, has at least one truly awful song that never should have been recorded, and even the best material on here is not up to the standards of their earlier work. Don't make this your first Belle & Sebastian purchase, and even if you are a fan, give this one a wide pass.
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By A Customer on May 27 2002
Format: Audio CD
1--I fought in a war: A beautiful, heartbreaking song about wartime.
2--The Model: Possibly the song on the album. Good keyboards, strings, vocals, trumpet, etc.
3--Beyond the sunrise: A quaint yet eerie little tune. Great vocals.
4--Waitng for the moon to rise: I like the cello solo near the end a lot. Not a super great song but enjoyable.
5--Don't Leave the Light on Baby: A really great ode to the late '60s, early '70s soul singers like Marvin Gaye.
6--The Wrong Girl: Simple lyrics and an accessible melody.
7--The Chalet Lines: A haunting song of abuse. Beautiful piano, vocals, cello arrangement.
8--Nice Day for a Sulk: Light, peppy song. Sounds like a mid'60s Burt Bacharach tune.
9--Womans Realm: For some reason reminds me of the Van Morrison song "Glad tidings" from the MOONDANCE album.
10--Family Tree: I always love it when Isobel sings. Lovely song.
11--Too Much Love: Really good, uplifting melody. I like the string orchestra fadeout.
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Format: Audio CD
Some of the songs are a joy to listen to. Tony Doogan has a unique origonal style and creates an artistry that is often uplifting. I, however, felt the same way about Smashing Pumkins, some 4 years ago, and in retrospect realize they are a bunch of angry, selfobsessed, crying, self victomizers and unecessarily so, It reminds me of Oscar Wilde, in De Profundis, reminding me of Dante, in The Inferno, that those who will be deepest in the fires of hell are those who were sad and had no reason to be so. Well I am ashamed of liking The Smashing Pumpkins. There is one song in the vein of this sort, "Family Tree". But most of the songs are just creative nonesense and fun. Some of their best songs, "The Model" and "There's Too Much Love" make me think that George Phillip Telemann joined the band. Many of the so so songs seem to be remininces of 60's-70's tunes. I don't think I will regret finding some joy in this album.
After listening to this some 20 times or so, I find only one song continually of interest and original. "The Model". The songs are starting to get whinny in a pubescent, sophmoric sense.
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