Tuesday, 10 October 2017

New Music: Belle And Sebastian - I'll Be Your Pilot

To this day Belle And Sebastian are the only band that I’ve bought an album of purely because of the cover. Their second album If You’re Feeling Sinister was my entry point to the group, not by the music, but because of that classic dual-tone red and black photo; so simple, but so effective, evoking so many ideas and stories in my head. 

From there Belle And Sebastian soon became one of my favourite gangs, from a shambolic but brilliant early set at the Union Chapel in Islington through to falling in love with the series of EPs they put out in the late 90’s through Jeepster, with similarly brilliantly simple but wonderful photograph covers. 

Lazy Line Painter Jane (featuring Monica Queen of the much under rated band Thrum, who I wrote about in 2016 which you can find by clicking here), is one of my all time most loved songs. There's a great blog post about it here. It's a song that contains not one but two sets of my favourite lyrics: “Boo to the business world! You know a girl who's tax free, on her back and making plenty cash, you are working for the joy of giving,” and “You are in two minds, tossing a coin to decide, whether you should tell your folks about a dose of thrush, you got from licking railings,” which now, incredibly, is quoted on line in the Urban Dictionary. I’d certainly never heard the expression ‘licking railings’ before - I was such a nice boy you see - so I blame Belle And Sebastian for opening my mind to new sordid expressions. They changed me.

In fact, my obsession with Belle and Sebastian became so consuming that for a year or two I’d only fancy girls who I thought looked like Belle And Sebastian fans; basically hairclips, dresses and glasses was my go to ideal woman. Yes, I was that obsessed. 

Thankfully, my infatuation with the band has dwindled over the years, and if I’m painfully honest a lot of their later work hasn’t always hit the spot with me, although there are always some gems on every album and every time I’ve seen them play live they’ve been great value.

Which brings me to the here and now. With a new tour announced for next year Belle And Sebastian are about to do something that will undoubtedly please a lot of old fans and perhaps keep it interesting for themselves as well. For they are due to release, not one, not two, but three EPs in quick succession, breaking away from the traditional release mechanism of throwing out a few singles, then an album. The EPs are all titled How To Solve Our Human Problems and from EP2 comes this new song. 

I’ll Be Your Pilot definitely harks back a little to past glory days in terms of its sonics. Whilst Belle And Sebastian have never been a particularly savage sounding band, I’ll Be Your Pilot certainly captures their softer, more comforting side. As a parent, this is a song I can personally relate to, even down to the Little Prince references. I have no idea if my complete lack of parenting skills when my first of two was born was a blessing or curse, but I think the idea of keeping your children safe is just something we’re all innately born with, and although ‘keeping your children alive till they’re old enough to look after themselves’ isn’t the most aspirational of parenting goals, it was one I was happy to set for myself. I'm pleased to report that to date I have achieved that goal. 

Anyway, I’ll Be Your Pilot is rather lovely, and irrespective of if you are a parent or not, there’s probably someone in the world you care for a lot and just want to make sure they’re OK. That, like this song, is a good thing. The world is so much nicer when we're just nice to each other - that's how to solve our human problems. 

Belle And Sebastian - I'll Be Your Pilot

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