Push Barman To Open Old Wounds

"This is just a modern rock song/This is just a sorry lament/We're four boys in corduroys/We're not terrific, but we're competent." With these words, Belle and Sebastian defined not a thing about their generation, just their own mastery as the kings and queens of literary Scottish indie-rock chamber music. This long-awaited compilation gathers the group's rare non-album singles dating back to 1997. It's two discs of steady brilliance, especially cult faves like "Dog on Wheels," "Lazy Line Painter Jane" and "Legal Man." But the best song is the most recent: "Marx and Engels," a 2001 piano-and-violin ballad where singer Stuart Murdoch explains why some shy girls would rather stay that way. It's a quintessential Belle and Sebastian gem.

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