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Belle & Sebastian: The BBC Sessions

<em>The BBC Sessions</em> is &ldquo;damn near essential for Belle &amp; Sebastian fans,&rdquo; said Tim Sendra in <em>All Music Guide.</em>

Belle & SebastianThe BBC Sessions(Matador)

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The BBC Sessions is “damn near essential for Belle & Sebastian fans,” said Tim Sendra in All Music Guide. Upon the release of the seminal If You’re Feeling Sinister, the Scottish septet cut its first BBC session, debuting four of the album’s best tracks. “Raw and unadorned” versions of those songs—including wistful ditties “Stars of Track and Field” and “Judy and the Dream of Horses”—are featured on this nostalgic collection. Spanning 1996 to 2001, these live studio sessions revisit the band’s indie beginnings and chart its rise to quiet fame.

“Despite the slapdash nature of some early shows,” Belle & Sebastian’s clever chamber-pop sounds polished, said Scott Plagenhoef in Pitchforkmedia.com. Though the album captures the band’s essence, however, it offers “an incomplete look at these sessions.” Three significant songs from 1996, including a slow version of “Seeing Other People” and a reading of “We Rule the School,” are missing.

But fans will let that slide, since they get to hear four unreleased songs recorded before Isobel Campbell left the band, said Alan Woodhouse in New Musical Express. “There was something magical, otherworldly even,” about Belle & Sebastian in those days, and it’s captured perfectly here.

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