Album 16 of 500: Belle and Sebastain – Tigermilk

May 21, 2010

LABEL: Electric Honey Records
RELEASE DATE: June 6th 1996 (UK date)

Belle and Sebastian. The indie girl’s dream, poppy, dreamy and lovely.  Belle and Sebastian tends to surface on “hip” films about outcast gals, like  Juno and (500) Days of Summer. Belle and Sebastian formed in 1995, in Glasgow Scotland, fronted by vocalist Stuart Murdoch. Isobel Campbell plays a small role on this album,  and there were only six members of the band at this time. In fact, Campbell’s moving vocals are not really presented till their third album, The Boy With the Arab Strap.

Tigermilk was the band’s first release. Released only on vinyl by Electric Honey Records, to a limited edition of one thousand. Reissued by Jeepster in 1999, this album is the first book of the Belle and Sebastian series. Belle and Sebastain really defines their sound on their third album, If You’re Feeling Sinister, yet it never really ever changed. Tigermilk is a darker album, full of teen angst, and a fear of commitment.

While kids were listening to the juvenile lyrics of the Weezer, the really hip ones were listening to this high school audio hell.  “Expectations” is the finest example, even used in the film, Juno. The song is about a young outcast girl who listens to the Velvet Underground and throws teenage fits in the lunchroom. Oh the memories. “Your obsessions get you known throughout the school for being strange/Making life-size models of the velvet underground in clay.” The lyrics in the song are fantastic, “Tell Veronica the secrets of the boy you never kissed/She’s got everything to gain ’cause she’s a fat girl with a lisp,” at least she had Veronica.

Tigermilk is not only full of teen angst, but also commitment fears.  In one song, “My Wandering Days Are Over”, we are greeted with happy lyrics about finding a new love, “You know my wandering days are over/Does that mean that I’m getting boring?/You tell me.” Yet, Murdoch is questioning his commitment fear, and totally brings it forth in the next song, “I Don’t Love Anyone.” “I don’t love anyone/Well, maybe my sister/Maybe my baby brother too, yeah/I don’t love anyone.”  TigerMilk is not their best album, it may even feed fears into the unsure, yet it is defines the state they are in.

RM CRESSER © 2010 500 Rad Records

NOTE: One thing this writer questions the comparsion between “Electronic Renaissance” and the Postal Service 2003 song, “Great Such Heights” which sounds very similar.


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