Belle and Sebastian

Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Once again, this quirky mini-orchestra from Glasgow has managed to put together a stellar album. Belle and Sebastian is really the product of seven musicians, spearheaded by main singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch. On Dear Catastrophe Waitress, the female vocalist who shared his mic in previous recordings, Sarah Martin, appears only in “Asleep on a Sunbeam,” and for the rest of the album she is confined to soft background vocals for Murdoch’s lead. But Murdoch has no problem shining solo. Tracks like “Step into My Office Baby” have the unusual harmonies and key changes of an Elliot Smith song, but what makes this band stand out is that even with seven players you don’t hear an overproduced “wall of sound” effect. All you get is a simple echo between instruments, lots of rhyming lyrics and catchy songs that you can’t help but bounce along to. If that’s not the making of a great indie band, I don’t know what is.