Holding Back the Years

Scottish indie-pop savants Belle and Sebastian keep postponing the doldrums of maturity, one album at a time

Softer than bombs: Belle and Sebastian members Mick Cooke, Stevie Jackson, and Chris Geddes
Softer than bombs: Belle and Sebastian members Mick Cooke, Stevie Jackson, and Chris Geddes

Yes, of course I know perfectly well how precious, silly, even stupid that sounds. But I speak as both a tough-minded scourge of college-radio simps and a devotee of the first Tiffany record when I say that Belle and Sebastian are among those few foolish heart-tuggers who have ever made me cry in spite of myself. So I'll strike this deal with their cadre of worshipers: Promise me you won't mistake that limited, beauteous sensibility for something like the meaning of life, and I promise to admit that the delicate, wounded coo that espouses it is, after all, something very much like soul.

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