It's neither surprising nor encouraging that after just two lines have passed from the latest Belle and Sebastian album, we've already met a Catholic schoolgirl who's running late for class and in some sort of distress. The mostly Scottish soft rockers have won their literary reputation not just with pretty language and sensitive haircuts and Dostoyevsky references, but by creating a world, a realistic yet decidedly make-believe place that one finds reasonably intact from album to album. Or unreasonably intact--either leader Stuart Murdoch has spent a decade developing pet themes with precision or he's repeated himself a lot and also done the same thing over and over. I take the optimistic side of that debate when the song is good, which keeps me generally optimistic. Especially when I'm playing the band's past two albums: 2003's... More >>>