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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

If You're Feeling Sinister

Belle & Sebastian

1996

Buy At Rough Trade
If You're Feeling Sinister
Album Summary

If You're Feeling Sinister is the second album by Scottish indie pop band Belle and Sebastian. It was released in 1996 on Jeepster Records in the United Kingdom and in 1997 by Matador Records in the United States. It is often ranked among the best albums of the nineties. Band leader Stuart Murdoch has stated the album is probably his best collection of songs. In 2005, Belle and Sebastian released a live version, If You're Feeling Sinister: Live at the Barbican.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.2

Votes

12205

Genres

  • Rock
  • Pop
  • Indie

Reviews

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Thu Jan 21 2021
3

The first blind listen for me. I've heard the name, but never any music from Belle & Sebastian. A little research has informed me that this band contains neither a Belle nor a Sebastian. Instead, it was formed by two Scottish guys named Stuart. False advertisement aside, this is a decent project. It opens strong, then settles into an even keel that mostly faded into the background for me. On that note, it would probably be a great "staring out the window on a roadtrip" album. I think I've heard the title track before, but I can't remember where. I will give credit for the production because all the instruments sound so crisp and clear. But even when the instrumentation picked up on certain songs (like Mayfly!), the vocals remained subdued and almost comatose. They finally pick up a bit in the closing track, but too little too late. I'm sure this is one of those albums that I would've appreciated more when it was released, but 25 years later, there have been plenty of other artists and bands with more engaging work in the alternative/indie spheres. It's alright, and it certainly sounds nice, but I didn't get much out of it. Maybe I'm not feeling sinister enough. Favorite tracks: The Stars of Track and Field, If You're Feeling Sinister, Mayfly. Album cover: a woman who seems to be pondering Kafka's novel about bureaucratic pitfalls and hijinks. I like the picture, but I don't think I can deduce the significance. Does The Trial actually relate to the album? Who knows. And again, seeing a woman on the cover reminds me that this is a band of Stuarts, and we did not get any vocals from the eponymous Belle (who for legal purposes does not exist). 3/5

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Sat Jun 05 2021
5

Another classic indie record, I'm sure it's bound to be misunderstood. Not nearly as twee as its reputation might sometimes suggest, the songwriting is robust and clever, the playing dynamic enough that the soft sections are as impactful as the loud parts. A record seemingly unconcerned with appearing cool or having a hit single, it's 10 great, confident songs - makes for a successful record.

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Tue Jul 06 2021
5

I got a lot of a lot of Nick Drake vibes from this one. I can also see how they influenced the diy indie scene as well. Very well written and unusual songs with a thoughtful arrangement and instrumentation

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Fri Sep 17 2021
5

Absolutely brilliant, and one of my favourite indie rock albums of the 1990's. Just a few minutes into the album's fantastic opener, 'The Stars of Track & Field', you know you're in for something special. The rich, engaging lyrics, the gentle acoustic guitar tracks, the surprising but perfectly placed trumpet solo, and the extended crescendo to close out - so good, and yet the album is only getting started. Every song on here is skillfully composed and so enjoyable.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
2

I had so many friends who were into this back in the day. I didn't get it then and I don't get it now. Proto-emo, cutsie-tootsie, shoegaze bullshit. The only reason this got 2 stars is because the production quality is excellent.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

I really love this album. It has a warm, indie feel that creates a peaceful and whimsical atmosphere. The melodies are beautiful, reminiscent of Nick Drake, but with a surprisingly modern feeling. The vocal delivery is smooth and satisfying, the lyrics are fun and interesting, the musical performance is breath-taking. Before today, I haven't even heard of this band, but now I am definitely going to be going back to this album. These songs have such satisfying progression, it honestly gave me goosebumps. As far as new albums go, this is my favorite I've heard in a long time. Favorite track: If you're feeling sinister Least Favorite track: Mayfly

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Thu Feb 25 2021
2

If this was anymore middle of the road there'd be white lines down the middle of the album. Having said that, the storytelling is decent and the melodies are occasionally quite catchy. The full orchestra adds something and makes it a little less boring. His voice is shit though and that has always annoyed me. Hipstery friends can never understand why I don't like these. Its because they are fundamentally dull. 2/5

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Fri May 07 2021
2

I've never listened to a Belle & Sebastian album before and this was exactly what I expected it to sound like. A couple of good songs but nothing to get the ears twitching. My big take away was wondering if the boy who done wrong again was the same boy who had the Arab strap.

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Fri Jan 27 2023
1

I found this album so boring, and that boredom transformed into irritation. It’s hard to explain. I just couldn’t stand it. I realize that this is objectively pleasant music so feel free to disagree but this was one of my least faves 1/5 sorry jare ❤️

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Amazing! Never even heard of the artist before, this was such a nice surprise. Real nice to chill to.

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Sun Sep 12 2021
5

Their second album is where the group hit their stride. Great lyrics and perfect instrumentation. Indie rock at it's best. Best Tracks: Seeing Other People; Me and the Major; Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying;

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Mon Jun 28 2021
4

On sent vraiment toute l'influence de la pop de chambre sur cet album, notamment le moment ou Belle s'installe confortablement dans son lit, posant delicatement sa tête sur son oreiller pendant que Sebastian colle des posters de ses boys band favoris sur les murs.

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Thu Feb 25 2021
1

Basic and boring. Didn’t even realise I had it on until it finished. 1/5

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Wed Jul 28 2021
1

So, so bland, empty. This is why nobody likes hipsters.

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Tue Jan 24 2023
1

1/5 Couldn’t wait for this one to end. It’s like the worst Indy bookstore soundtrack ever.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

I have a lot to say about this album but am very tired. Belle and Sebastian are fucking wonderful and revisiting this one was a delight, I absolutely love the production on the songs, the piano and violin instrumentals on the tracks were wonderful. also his voice is five stars alone

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Fri Oct 01 2021
5

Banger. Great production and progression, melodies and lyrics are super nice. The Scottish Neutral Milk Hotel but with Chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

Love love love it. Simply beautiful

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Wed Mar 16 2022
5

Finally something really nice. The person who wrote this list knows nothing about music, toooooo American, for sure this person has no idea of music in other countries and regions. Only one culture vision, boring.

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Fri Jul 07 2023
5

One of those albums where every song has been my favorite at some point. I remember how magical it seemed hearing this quite early on before anyone really knew who they were, like stumbling upon a forgotten classic from another time. I don't think they made another record nearly as good, although they all have their moments. This one is perfect. Mark - tell me how wrong I am!

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Tue Dec 12 2023
5

Perhaps the quintessential album in their discography, Belle & Sebastian perfect their brand of witty, rather quirky aesthetic that still pierces the listener with rather delightful ease. A really thorough overview of who they are and how they worked from beginning to end, If You're Feeling Sinister not only sounds familiar but it feels new all the same; a world that makes you feel that you've already traversed whilst seeing new sights. A brilliant showcase.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
4

Imagine my surprise when I learned Belle & Sebastian was not a duo consisting of Belle and Sebastian. Great album. Really reminiscent of that early indie sound like Neutral Milk Hotel (but less weird). Really solid album. Saved this one for a rainy day and happy I did.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
4

Un très joli album qui raconte l'histoire de Sébastien, un enfant solitaire et d'un chien sauvage. Il l'apprivoise et lui donne le nom Belle. Ensemble, ils essaient de déjouer un plan nazi pour capturer des résistants français.

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Tue Nov 30 2021
4

It's lovely. I appreciate the unfettered authenticity and wistfulness. The melodramatic "Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying" is a song that will always have a special place in my heart.

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Tue Nov 15 2022
4

The funny thing about digging into B&S at this point in life is the songs kind of lose the element of surprise, because it sounds similar to a ton of more modern bands that I've been listening to for a decade (Decemberists, Shins, Death Cab, etc). But I have to remind myself that these groups built their sound off of the blueprint B&S laid out well before. The songs here are fantastic: some of the tightest songwriting and performance are consistent throughout the entire record. Tracks will feature little details and flourishes that keep things lively, like the clips of children playing in the title track or the light keyboards and sax in the following track "Mayfly." It's an album that sounds as effortless as a breeze, as if they came into being as they were being performed.

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Wed Apr 05 2023
4

Gentle is the word that comes to mind. It was a pleasant listen though it fell into background music as the album went on. I would have loved this at an earlier point in life, not my pick these days but still good overall. I feel like Ben Gibbard loves this band.

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Fri Jul 07 2023
4

This list makes me face my demons. B&S, how I’ve swerved around, fled and cowered from you without even knowing why. I suspect my fear was of what I perceived to be softness, which I grasped you rejoiced in. Weird isn’t it. That’s not a question. This is very good and I haven’t had enough time with it. There’s a play between folk, rock, dissonance and storytelling that feels both fresh and archetype-making. Soft? ‘Me and the Major’ is not soft: it’s pretty bleak! Same for most of the rest. Hard to judge greatness on a single playthrough, but that’s all I have. Going for a likely conservative 4. Now back to playing “Two Nuns and a a Pack Mule” really loud!

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Sat Oct 14 2023
4

I really liked Tigermilk and I really like this record, but I have the feeling that the farther I go in their discography, I might start getting bored. Not because I think the music will be bad, just that I can see them settling into their sound and…eventually the law of diminishing returns will kick in, you know what I mean? As it stands, though, I’m more than content to keep playing this record and Tigermilk over and over. They are *great* records.

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Thu Nov 30 2023
4

Fantastic showing, I'd never even heard of them and really enjoyed the album

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Thu Nov 30 2023
4

I enjoyed this album a lot more than I anticipated. Going off album cover alone, it looks like some whiny brit pop shit we’ve heard too many times at this point. What we actually get is a fun and semi-original album that’s reasonably unique. I have no great praises for this thing, but I have no complaints either. It had emotion and heart to it, so that’s worth something. 4/5

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Thu Dec 07 2023
4

Shit, that was some good shit.

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Sun Jan 14 2024
2

well, i finally found it… the cure to my insomnia. this album bored me to sleep. good night.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
2

I've never been a fan of Belle and Sebastian and tbh I just find them twee and quite grating. This was no different

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Fri Mar 01 2024
2

Convoluted, the contrived lyrics and monotonous delivery just don't come together—a lackluster performance.

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Wed Sep 02 2020
5

Liked this track https://youtu.be/5-aB4wtWiYI also good front. Solid

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

Just another complete classic, I love this band.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
5

I just really feel like this album excels in so many categories: lyrics, composition, big time mood.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
5

Einige äußerst schöne Geschichten und Figuren. Einiger der traurigeren Schicksale klingen sehr nach meiner immer noch nachhallenden Depressionsphase. Es fühlt sich wieder gut an, leider.

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Sat Sep 11 2021
5

First off, it was only a couple of days ago that I discovered a song from this album and I liked it so could it be fate that this album has been brought to me for today? Who knows, but I really, really enjoyed this album. I liked how the songs were indie pop, but at times had elements of folk-rock too. My favourites from this album are The Stars of Track & Field, Seeing Other People, Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying, If You're Feeling Sinister and Mayfly. 5/5 stars.

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Mon Sep 13 2021
5

Favoriete nummers: - The stars of track & field

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Thu Oct 14 2021
5

Been a fan of Belle and Sebastian, this is their best.

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Thu Oct 21 2021
5

Gentle, melodic, indie pleasantry. this and Boy with the Arab Strap are perfectly created indie masterpieces

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Fri Nov 12 2021
5

Nice and mellow, easy listening

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Tue Nov 16 2021
5

Wow, this is so in my wheelhouse I'm surprised this album wasn't ever reccomended to me. I think I ended up putting half the songs on a playlist

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Sun Nov 21 2021
5

I knew from the first song this was gonna be an album I’d fall in love with I usually don’t call myself an indie fan but there’s this specific kind of indie I’m obsessed with. Neutral Milk Hotel, The Antlers, etc. these bands that have these beautiful, instrumentally diverse, melodic, but lyrically melancholic pieces that I could listen to for hours if you’re gonna listen to this album, I strongly recommend you read along the lyrics, it really adds to the beauty and atmosphere this is one of those albums too good to rate, a 10/10 just doesn’t feel good enough but yes, I really love this specific kind of sound that reminds me of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea or In the Attic of the Universe (both those albums are also too amazing to rate) just, I can’t even put into words how amazing of an experience it was for me to listen to this please check this amazing art out now i’m gonna go check out Tigermilk

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Sat Nov 27 2021
5

Superb. just fantastic all round

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Sat Dec 11 2021
5

Despite this probably not being my fave Belle and Sebastian, I love them so much this has to be a 5. You simply can't have a bad time listening to this. Such. Good. Vibes.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

Best Song: Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying. I love anything that places dark and melancholy meaning within an upbeat presentation. Worst Song: Like Dylan In The Movies. Not a bad song, just the least interesting lyrically of an otherwise excellent album. Overall: Fantastic. Exactly my type of muted, lyrically poignant songwriting.

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Mon Jan 31 2022
5

An indie classic! Favorites: Get Me Away, I'm Dying; If You're Feeling Sinister

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Mon Feb 07 2022
5

"Sad bastard music" as Jack Black's character from High Fidelity called it, Belle and Sebastian will always hold a special place in my heart for being gentle enough to be genuinely touching without succumbing to excessive melodrama

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Tue Feb 15 2022
5

cet album et moi étions sur la même vibration spirituelle au moment précis où je l'ai écouté je pense

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Mon Apr 04 2022
5

In my first year after graduating, I arrived at an aimless place in life where everything I’d thought mattered suddenly didn’t. I discovered Belle and Sebastian’s music, and it immediately struck several chords. Their music is brimming with intricate and heartfelt storylines of disaffected youths, either washed up rebels or sensitive would-be- intellectuals gingerly looking for their real place in the world. “If You’re Feeling Sinister” captures this mixture of lethargy and pain in a seamless set of snapshots. Outsiders who endlessly travel on busses, fumble around with a string of lovers, are obsessed with S&M and bible-studies, and dream of horses. Lyrically, it’s photorealistic to the point you can hear Glasgow’s rain and fog spreading over each track. And the music? Absolutely beautiful. It’s commonly known as “twee pop”, which has always suggested a bit of a snobby, dismissive attitude to me. All it really means is there’s a constant focus on melody, delicately expressed by Stuart Murdoch’s featherweight vocals. There are occasional instrumental flourishes, all gently and perfectly befitting the world the songs and their characters inhabit (Trumpets! Harmonica! Glockenspiel! Recorders!) But really, the arrangements are light and gimmick-free enough to not pull too much attention away from the lyrics and melody. “Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying” is the wry, yet catchy, yet gloomy, yet buoyant core of the album, spanning several moods over its singalong refrain. But every other track here is gold, whatever mood it falls under. Some are upbeat but unravel in pages and pages of scattered poetry, like “Mayfly”, “Seeing Other People” and “Me and the Major”. Some express forlorn sympathy mingled with more than a little hope, like “The Boy Done Wrong Again” and “Fox in the Snow”. Finally, we have the bittersweet sense of triumph building majestically across “Judy and the Dream of Horses”, my all time favourite by the band. Life after graduation got much better, by the way. Learning Stuart Murdoch had struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome for many years put things firmly in perspective.

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Wed Apr 27 2022
5

Música pop perfecta en el seu plantejament i resultat. Rara avis en el panorama dels '90, res a veure amb el brit pop o l'escena rave de l'época, van sorgir com tot un misteri, que envoltava les seves portades i imatge i continuava en uns temes de pop d'orfebreria, diferents a tota la resta, bevent d'influències pretèrites però amb una originalitat molt especial. Tenen una sèrie de discos genials, però aquest primer (o segon, si comptem 'Tigermilk') és segurament el millor. Et fa sentir còmode i feliç, estiguis en l'estat d'ànim que estiguis. De molt pocs discos es pot dir quelcom així

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Tue May 03 2022
5

I was a teenage tweenager. I got fully obsessed with Belle and Sebastian. Used to hang out on early web forums dedicated to them and carve their lyrics into desks. So this is not an unbiased review. It was a joy to listen back to it. The sly wit, the aching heartbreak, the ridiculously long and unresolving chord progressions. Just one of the best bands ever. Fun and moving and charming.

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Tue May 24 2022
5

Belle & Sebastian just don't miss. A superb little album that is cozy as hell. Good for your rainy day needs. Or for any day really.

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Tue Jul 05 2022
5

This is another high school classic for me. It’s a great listen straight through, the only weak point is “The Boy done wrong again” but in the context of the album it works.

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Sun Jul 10 2022
5

An amazingly good album. The simple, memorable, absolutely gorgeous melodies. The sweet, soulful vocals, the poetic lyrics, the perfect tasteful arrangements. Every song is a winner. A beautiful 5 🌟 album.

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Sun Jul 17 2022
5

First impressions from looking at the tracklist is that all the songs have oddly long titles. After listening to it it's awesome. Five stars. Perfect. Light vocals, lots of intentional reputation and an interesting song structure that seems to melt as the song goes along. Couple saxophone solos that rip and a good guitar solo on one track.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
5

Major fall vibes on this one. A lot cool things going on the background like little harmonicas , touches of keys, a guitar popping in and out and splashes of horns.

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Mon Aug 29 2022
5

I was not familiar with this album before today though I have listened to newer Belle & Sebastian albums a lot. I don't think this is their best material but if this is the record named in the book then we'll just go with it. 5 stars for the album because it is representing an amazing band.

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Fri Aug 26 2022
5

An album that gets better and better the more you listen - it takes a few passes to truly appreciate the wit and turns of phrase in the lyrics and the richness of the musical compositions. Consistent all the way through and each member has their moments of creativity and expression, all held together with Stuart M's strong songwriting. I didn't think this was my favorite Belle & Sebastian record, but after this listen I think I've changed my mind and awarded it a rightful place at the top of the list.

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Fri Sep 02 2022
5

I really enjoyed this album's sound and tone. I liked every single song on the album. I also like the singer's voice quite a bit, but I could understand why others might not. My favourite songs were probably Me and the Major and The Stars of Track and Field.

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Sat Sep 24 2022
5

This is my first listen of this album & likely the first time I’ve taken notice of this band. And I just have to ask….who has hidden them from me for my whole life??? I love their sound and am loving this album.

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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

A twee masterpiece. One of their best!

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Tue Oct 18 2022
5

Winsome 90s indie done beutifully

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

Fantastic album that I'd never listened to before

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Tue Nov 01 2022
5

No es mi favorito, pero ....5.

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Fri Nov 25 2022
5

I love this album and used to listen to it a ton, and it's great to revisit. Almost flawless.

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Wed Dec 28 2022
5

An excellent record from a brilliant band. There’s a misfit quality to Belle and Sebastian and these songs of outsiders and strugglers makes the listener feel part of a secret club - a club sufficiently large enough to rally the fans on a nascent internet to vote the band best newcomer at the 1999 Brit awards. The album is catchy, charming and witty; the production is excellent, full of beautifully arranged lines and Murdoch’s vocals pulls everything along. Although later albums are even better than this, IYFS gets five stars in case this is Belle and Sebastian’s only appearance on this list. If you liked this album check out the live version of the entire album.

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Sat Dec 31 2022
5

A great classic throwing back to influences from 60's early indie music like the Velvet Underground but never sounding like pastiche or copy-cat. The songwriting is stunning and the stories told through the lyrics are fun and diverse. Most of the music here is acoustic guitar driven tunes that are superbly elevated by beautiful orchestral arrangements. Some of the best examples of this are the trumpets on " Stars of Track and Field", the strings on "The Boy Done Wrong Again" and recorder, trumpet and organ on " Judy and the Dream of Horses". The influence of this album can be heard in great albums by Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, The Shins and Fleet Foxes. For me the one-two punch of Tigermilk and If You're Feeling Sinister is one of the best combo of debut and sophomore albums of all time. Stunning. 9,7/10

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Sun Jan 01 2023
5

Utterly charming and winsome, and novelistically rich in emotional and intellectual content. It's easy to mock this band as the height of Millennial tweeness or cottagecore, but one finds it hard not to like and admire the work, given its orginality and the band's ability to do so well what they so clearly set out to do.

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Tue Jan 03 2023
5

Greatly enjoyed, reminded me of Sondre Lerche

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Tue Feb 07 2023
5

A brilliant pop album with a dark underside. The music is multi-layered and classic while the lyrics have a decided edge. Classic

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Fri Jul 22 2022
5

This was a game changer for me when I first heard it (probably ‘08 or ‘09). A soft spoken album with a lot to say. me and the Major and Get Me Away are the classics but there are no bad tracks here. An ungenerous take could dismiss this as meek twee, but the execution is nearly flawless and it’s hugely influential.

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Fri Feb 17 2023
5

I had gotten Belle & Sebastian's album Tigermilk a bit ago on this generator, but knew of this album from my partner's love for it, so was hoping that may enjoyment from their prior album would just be heightened more in this, and it absolutely was. It is hard to explain what makes this album so enjoyable, but the melancholy feeling with the easy listening really are heighted with the almost "locomotive" feeling of some songs, while knowing when to reel it back to really make the album feel fuller. It's just a feeling that isn't quite folk, alternative, or anything else, but its own thing that is really quite enjoyable. Excellent listen.

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Sat Feb 18 2023
5

While twee may be a cliche, this album is the reason why it was ever A Thing in the first place.

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Tue Feb 21 2023
5

hørte sjukt masse på detta i fjor

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Sun Mar 05 2023
5

Very easy listening, very nice

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Thu Mar 16 2023
5

So on rateyourmusic, I'm stuck between a 4.0 and a 4.5. But translating that score to here no matter what it is between those two it'll be a five star. BESIDES THAT THOUGH, this is really good. I've been meaning to listen to this album for a very long time. The melodies of all of the songs are just so catchy and so earwormy. Mmmmmm.

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