Belle & Sebastian | The Third Eye Centre (Matador Records)

Belle-and-Sebastian 75This is an album made solely for the longtime fans.

I want to establish first-off that this album isn’t “new” music from the band. The Third Eye Centre is a collection of rarities and remixes the band has yet released. After eight studio albums, the band had accumulated enough scrapped music to make a compilation release. Some tracks are diamonds in the rough, others sound as though they were on the cutting board.

One immediate problem is that this 19-track album is daunting. I think this will be a turnoff for many listeners, especially new ones that have just discovered the band. Yet, after all the remixes and some “eh” songs, it’s clear this album isn’t intended for new fans, but diehard ones.

But, if a new listener were to stumble into this album, some of these tracks are solid, and these are at the beginning of the album. The well-known sound and style from the band is still prominent too. But the album’s strongest tracks don’t stand up to band’s past releases musically. I feel these tracks didn’t make the cut for just that reason.

This collection of b-sides brings to life ideas that the band has kept under wraps. If you love Belle & Sebastian and are looking for some new material from them, this may tide you over for awhile. But this is an album made solely for the longtime fans. C | Alex Wilking

Standout Tracks – I’m a Cuckoo (The Avalanche Remix), Your Secrets, Heaven in the Afternoon

R.I.Y.L. – The Smiths, The New Pornographers

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