[13] Belle And Sebastian, ‘I’m A Cuckoo’

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Did Trevor Horn ruin Belle And Sebastian? Did Russell T. Davies ruin Doctor Who? Did Tony Blair ruin Labour? Nah, they just buffed them up until you could shave in them. Dear Catastrophe Waitress represented a sonic step forward – or sideways, however you look at it – but B&S were never exactly scuzzy and never lost their lighter touch. There’s not much lightness of touch on ‘I’m A Cuckoo’, unless you take it for a wimpier spin on Thin Lizzy; there are guitar pyrotechnics (well, they spark a little) and it soars up to a triumphant final verse, riding shotgun with the Sunday gang in Harajuku.

Junior bops, and actually likes it. I’ve suspicions that the chocolate cornflake cake she was munching did more to hep up her mood, but Belle And Sebastian never did anyone any harm.

Tune in on Monday for the second part of our Harajuku double-header.

There’s something wrong with me:

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[12] Belle & Sebastian, ‘Dog On Wheels EP’

Tough to choose just one of Belle and Sebastian’s legendary EPs – tough to call them ‘legendary’, but we eschew understatement here – so ‘Dog On Wheels’ gets the nod for ‘The State I Am In’. I reckon the album version is better, so I played them back to back for Junior to judge. She disagreed with her dad, possibly not for the last time.

The rougher EP version had our baby Belle grinning and banging her hairbrush on the coffee table. Quite a raucous response to B&S, but then I’m not sure Junior’s going to be a twee, gingham-frocked, church hall sort of girl. She’s going to be a B-Girl, Acid Tess, Studio 54 rawk chick.

Speaking of the Mercury Prize (as I was in my head), how the hell did Belle and Sebastian’s fantastic The Life Pursuit not get a nod? Makes the whole thing look like a sideshow farce.

Ah.

[18] U2, ‘Mysterious Ways’

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Never having heard Rattle & Hum, Junior’s not well placed to assess U2’s seismic brand realignment from holier-than-thou, campaigning rock monoliths to fun-loving, wraparound-sporting, INXS wannabes with better songs. Good. 15 years on, Achtung Baby is just another rock album, most songs a bit tighter and poppier than U2’s earlier offerings but there’s more obvious filler.

The Perfecto Mix of ‘Mysterious Ways’ did it for me. A couple of minutes of looped guitar at the start before the nice big riff comes in, and then no sign of the first verse, just the second verse twice with a couple of choruses. It’s careless, but it works. Oakenfold’s sausage fingers were all over 1991.

Junior rocked side to side throughout; she definitely goes for the rock guitars and the sturdy drums. She needs to hear more Belle & Sebastian and Eg & Alice. I won’t have an infant Suzi Quatro on my hands.