(God help the) girl power

Find yourself caught in love with this Belle & Sebastian side project.

(God help the) girl power

God Help the Girl ALBUM: âÄúGod Help the GirlâÄù LABEL: Matador RELEASE DATE: June 23 Challenge: Sum up the Belle & Sebastian sound aesthetic in one word. 1, 2, 3, go! Twee? Yes. Adorable? Sure. Whimsical, oft-melancholy? Bingo, but thatâÄôs four words. Well, enterprising journalists can use all sorts of vocabulary words to describe the Scottish indie favorites, but cute and charming do the job rather nicely. The same adjectives can also be applied to Belle and SebastianâÄôs bandleader Stuart MurdochâÄôs latest musical endeavor, a delicious confection of a side project he calls God Help the Girl. Take two parts Belle & Sebastian, a dash of Divine Comedy, one of the girls from Smoosh and four golden-voiced female singers, and voila . Murdoch and company were inspired by classic âÄô60s girl groups like the Shirelles and Ronettes , and God Help the Girl is a clear example of how relevant those chick collectives of the past continue to be. Their sweet songs and tight harmonies of love and heartbreak influenced such modern-day bands as Zooey DeschanelâÄôs She & Him, or the kittenish twee-pop of Camera Obscura . However, âÄúGod Help the GirlâÄù (the album) is also a story sung by a main character (though sheâÄôs voiced by four different ladies, and sometimes by Murdoch himself), Eve, and every song unfolds delicately from her perspective. The primary âÄúEveâÄù is singer Catherine Ireton, who serves as the face of the band as well. God Help the Girl is musically all over the map, with each of its songs yanking inspiration from different genres. Bonnie Raitt could sing the bluesier retread of classic Belle & Sebastian ode to stalkers, âÄúFunny Little FrogâÄù and a jazz saxophone drips honey all over the minute-long âÄúA United Theory.âÄù To further blur the line between major project and its offshoot, Murdoch and his posse also re-recorded another Belle & Sebastian song, âÄúAct of the Apostle II.âÄù Every song from âÄúGod Help the GirlâÄù sounds as though it came straight from an episode of an all-female cast of âÄúThe Brady Bunch,âÄù because it reeks of wood paneling, floral polyester dresses and high school dances full of dream boys. ItâÄôs charming in an old-fashioned, retro sort of way. The girl vocalists wax romantic nostalgia, occasionally stepping aside as Murdoch takes the wheel for a song or two with his husky tenor. Belle & Sebastian are no strangers to character-driven songs, and so what if a dude sings from a femaleâÄôs point of view? However, as beloved as Murdoch is to B & S fans, hearing a dude sing on what was intended to be an all-female record kind of kills the vibe. âÄúLife could be musical comedy,âÄù goes the charming waltz-step âÄúHiding âÄôNeath my Umbrella.âÄù And apparently, thatâÄôs what Murdoch has planned for God Help the Girl. He has begun writing a screenplay based on the album, watching hours of âÄô80s John Hughes classics and âÄô40s screwball comedies to light the spark of creativity. However, he told Pitchfork in May that there may be another Belle & Sebastian album before the movie even begins filming. So donâÄôt hold your breath for the God Help the Girl movie if you find yourself caught in love with the album, but trust that itâÄôll probably be as adorable as its soundtrack.