Belle & Sebastian - Tigermilk (1991)

Belle & Sebastian have been one of my favourite bands for years. The first album I heard, The Boy with the Arab Strap became an instant favourite for me and I sought about finding all their stuff. Surprisingly, one of the last albums I heard, was actually their first. Tigermilk, like so many of their albums, sounds absolutely lovely. Cheery tunes, soft voices, twee pop in all its glory. But this is where Belle & Sebastian like to fool you. The songs sound wonderfully cheery, but most of them have a depressing little story in them. I found it very difficult not to write a paragraph about each song. There's just that much to be said about them.

“The State I Am In” opens the album with gentle guitar and softly spoken lyrics, only to change once the second verse begins into a very upbeat song that sets the pace for the rest of the album. “Expectations” is a brilliant song. I cannot put into words how fantastic this song is. Several of the songs deal with homosexuality, high school, and basically just being the outcast. “Expectations” starts fast and doesn't stop. The entire song keeps building and building right up until the final verse, the song actually makes me a bit tense listening to it.

“She's Losing It” is a very boppy song that does not reflect its subject matter at all. But it does contain some of my favourite lyrics; "when the first cup of coffee tastes like washing up". The album is filled with lyrics like that that I can't help but smile to.
The upbeat sound continues for the next couple of songs; “You're Just A Baby” and “Electronic Renaissance”. The latter being very reminiscent of Air, all it lacks is a mysterious French accent. “I Could Be Dreaming” takes creepy to a new level with its dreamy tune and sadistic lyrics. “We Rule the School” has some beautiful lyrics to go with the violin that appears and vanishes throughout the song.

“My Wandering Days Are Over” is the only real romantic song on the whole album. Several of the other songs mention love, but this seems to be the only one written specifically for someone. And then, just to confuse you, they follow the song with “I Don't Love Anyone”. A great song with fast acoustic guitar and our good friend the tambourine, who shows up in nearly all the songs, but only for the chorus, before dancing away for another few verses.

“Mary Jo” brings the album full circle. “The State I am In” is mentioned in one of the last verses and it's a great way to finish off the album.
Part of my love for this band is because they can take depressing times in your life and give you a completely new outlook, simply due to the kind of music they write. The album always gets me singing and always somehow manages to turn my mood around.


(80 - SM)

Combined Rating = 85


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