The fad for bands performing "classic" albums in their entirety is getting a little threadbare already. It's fine if it's Pet Sounds or Horses, but gets stretched somewhat when it's If You're Feeling Sinister, which not even hardcore Belle and Sebastian fans would consider their most vital work. The intention here, however, isn't to attempt a note-perfect copy of the original studio album, but rather to correct what the band viewed as the shortcomings of the original release. Accordingly, the sparse settings of the 1996 versions have been bolstered here by a relatively sophisticated palette incorporating piano, vibes, trumpet and, most radically, strings. The effect is to give the lonely, life-crisis suicides of the title-track a more tragically windswept musical memorial, or to add a subtle touch of Bacharach to songs like "Stars of Track and Field" and "Like Dylan in the Movies". The most improved track is probably "Me and the Major", whose generation-gap account of an old codger who remembers hippies and "Roxy Music in '72" is lent an extra urgency and drive.
DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Me and the Major', 'If You're Feeling Sinister'.
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