Belle and Sebastian
Dear Catastrophe Waitress


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
July 8th, 2006 | 24 replies | 12,237 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Many bands, namely Oasis, attempt to make the magic that legendary band the Beatles created back in the 60s. "What's The Story (Morning Glory)" makes the largest attempt to make modernized versions of the Beatles songs. Don't Look Back in Anger sounds like Imagine immediately. However, one band out of the UK sounds more like the Beatles than any of the other imitators, and they don't even try to be the Beatles. Belle and Sebastian, with the release of Dear Catastrophe Waitress, create a great album with noticeable Beatles influence without completely ripping off specific Beatles songs.

Belle and Sebastian were really in a tight spot with the upcoming release of Dear Catastrophe Waitress. Two of the founding members left for other projects and it seemed that Belle and Sebastian would not be able to live up to the great releases that came before this album. However, the band came up with an album a bit more radio friendly, but still great music and fun to listen to. Rushes of sound including guitars, keyboards, and string and brass sections make lush background for the easy going vocals of either Stuart Murdoch or Sarah Martin. Most songs revolve around a strumming acoustic guitar going over the chord pattern while the other various instruments build countermelodies off of the chords.

The first song however, revolves on a more percussive feel set down by the bass and drums. The song takes a departure away from the typical Belle and Sebastian sound. Starting with just drums, keyboard, and a trombone setting the percussive feel the song revolves around, the song immediately sounds catchy and like a single. Step into My Office, Baby was the first single off any album by Belle and Sebastian. Once the whole band enters, the song shows the Beatles influences immediately. When the vocal harmony comes along singing "Say my place at 9," sounds the most Beatles-esque that the album has to offer. At one point nearly halfway throughout the song, everything drops out for Stuart singing and vocals harmonies behind him. Slowly, more instruments build on top until reaching the verse riff again. After another verse and chorus, the song slows down and leaves Stuart and a piano to sing until bringing the drums and bass back in and speeding back up to the original tempo. Then yet another verse and chorus occurs to close out the song.

The next standout, Piazza, New York Catcher features Stuart and an acoustic guitar. Some of the best lyrics on the album are showcased here. Witty baseball references occur all over the place. "The statue's crying too and will he may," is the most hidden of the references, obviously slyly throwing in Willie Mays into the mix. The title is misleading, as the song is really just a song about a girl. The first lines "Elope with me Miss Private and we'll sail around the world/I will be your Ferdinand and you my wayward girl," lead right into the story Stuart weaves throughout the song. Each verse follows the same chord pattern that is in Gb, so barre chords are a plenty.

The next track, Asleep on a Sunbeam gives a break from Stuart's vocals and brings in Sarah Martin for the first half of the song. Asleep on a Sunbeam follows a strummed guitar pattern, accompanied with piano and a light drum beat. A brass section enters here and there to accent certain sections. After the chorus, Stuart takes a verse for himself, shorter than Sarah's. The guitar drops out from strumming and the piano is left to keep the chord pattern going. Asleep on a Sunbeam goes by quickly, maintaining the poppy feel of the album thus far.

The breathtaking ballad, If You Find Yourself Caught in Love, opens with a beautiful piano melody. Well, one would think this song is a ballad for the first minute, until a bass slide brings the song into a more energetic verse. Stuart sings over a typical rock instrumentation of guitar, bass, and drums. Light piano can be heard accenting with the guitar. The song pulses along, well orchestrated with a string section about halfway throughout. Surprisingly jazzy chords create tension during transitions and a few triplet rhythmic surprises occur in the chorus.

The next song, the bluesy Roy Walker, showcases great vocal harmonies throughout the song. After the bluesy intro and a short verse, everything drops out except for a sparse xylophone, Stuart, and finger snaps to keep the rhythm. The song continues to pass off between these two riffs until a bridge/outro including a very well crafted guitar solo. The finger snap section of the song is so incredibly catchy, and this song will get inside your head and will not leave for some time.

Dear Catastrophe Waitress is definitely the catchiest of Belle and Sebastian's albums, and raised the bar higher for their further releases. The departure of Isobel and Stuart does not go unnoticed, but also does not leave any gaping holes in the band's sound or progression. Every song has their good points, but the standouts leave the others forgettable. However, this album is most definitely an album that one can listen to straight through without getting tired or bored.

Recommended Tracks:
Step Into My Office, Baby
Piazza, New York Catcher
Asleep on a Sunbeam
If You Find Yourself Caught in Love
Roy Walker



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Comments:Add a Comment 
sgrevs
July 9th 2006



698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can't believe you didn't say anything about 'I'm A Cuckoo'!! Tied with 'Step Into My Office, Baby' for best song on the album.

The brass part in the last minute of the song is just orgasmic.This Message Edited On 07.09.06

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 9th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album deserves more than 1 comment.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 13th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This went up when the site went down. So here's another comment for it.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2006



17920 Comments


Their name brings back memories of Beauty and the Beast. Ahh, Disney movies....

pos.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 14th 2006



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It does for everyone.

dreambrother18
February 24th 2008



10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Three words. I'm a cuckoo.

timbo8
September 7th 2008



618 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The Avalanches' remix of "I'm a Cuckoo" is heaven

timothyzha
September 7th 2008



23 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review, amazing album. pretty much no lame tracks here.

ASberg
September 7th 2008



2161 Comments


Nice review.
I friend of mine loves this, i dont really like it though.


Kiran
Emeritus
November 3rd 2009



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i used to think this was one of the weaker belle and sebastian albums but i was so, so wrong

Waior
November 3rd 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the only Belle and Sebastian I've heard and it's just splendid

Roach
November 3rd 2009



2149 Comments


Yeah you were way wrong, this has some of their best songs on it.

Kiran
Emeritus
November 3rd 2009



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the falsetto in 'if she wants me' is glorious

CelestialDust
March 25th 2010



3155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm a cuckoo-kachu cuckookooo-kachuu has been stuck in my head all day, tis wonddderful

crank
October 12th 2010



332 Comments


Belle and Sebastian are just the cutest band.

Gyromania
July 2nd 2011



15199 Comments


This might be my favorite Belle and Seb record now.

Kiran
Emeritus
July 2nd 2011



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2nd fav!

Pyosisified
July 2nd 2011



2450 Comments


yea i really liked this one too. tigermilk is my fav though, this and IYFS are tied for 2nd

Gyromania
July 6th 2011



15199 Comments


If You're Feeling Sinister is fantastic, but I think the lyrics are much stronger on here, and it's so damn catchy and fun.

Kiran
Emeritus
July 6th 2011



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i adore the lyrics on if you're feeling sinister



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