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Fold Your Hands Child You Walk Like a Peasant

113 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 6, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Belle & Sebastian's songs have always been instantly familiar while simultaneously original and unexpected. Listening to Belle & Sebastian, you have the inexplicable feeling that you have heard these songs somewhere before, filed away with the mothballs of your youth, or that, maybe, you have stumbled upon long-lost tapes of a young Nick Drake being backed by Village Green Preservation Society-era Kinks under the production of some low-rent Phil Spector. The fact that Belle & Sebastian have arrived at their distinct, anachronistic sound quite naturally and by accident is a large part of their charm. It's not surprising, then, that Belle & Sebastian's fourth full-length record, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant, has arrived with the band's sincerity intact. What is surprising, however, is the record itself: an eclectic mix of the soulful and the sublime, something of a departure for the band. Unlike their last record, the amazing Boy with the Arab Strap, the songs here are not instantly recognizable, but more subtle. The hooks don't automatically grab; instead, the songs' intent is to break you down, seeping into your bloodstream and working on you from the inside out like an infection.

The eclectic feel of the record owes itself to the fact that this is, by far, Belle & Sebastian's most "record by committee" affair yet, with songwriting contributions from several different band members and songs that seem to have been built up from simple ideas into lush orchestral pieces with the musical input of the band's many different instrumentalists. While Stuart Murdoch still writes and sings the bulk of the material, he collaborates with bandmates on a number of songs, including the delicately soulful "Don't Leave the Light on Baby," written with keyboardist Chris Geddes. Unfortunately, songs by Belle & Sebastian cofounder and bassist Stuart David are not to be found on Fold Your Hands (he left the band during the recording). However, violinist Sarah Martin contributes her first song with the haunting "Waiting for the Moon to Rise," while cellist Isobel Campbell adds the record's most surprising track, "Beyond the Sunrise," sounding like a lost Leonard Cohen gem with its spare and fragile arrangement. Guitarist Stevie Jackson, who contributed some of the better songs on Arab Strap, manages only one on this outing, but it's one of the best: "The Wrong Girl," a tale of misplaced love juxtaposed against swinging Spector- like strings and horns. By the time the band reaches "Women's Realm," an infectious, life-affirming romp, the record's message, although never spelled out, is clear: Through all the melancholy and solitude and terrible things that could go wrong, life is still worth fighting for. --Paul Ducey

1. I Fought In A War
2. The Model
3. Beyond The Sunrise
4. Waiting For The Moon To Rise
5. Don't Leave The Light On, Baby
6. The Wrong Girl
7. The Chalet Lines
8. Nice Day For A Sulk
9. Woman's Realm
10. Family Tree
11. There's Too Much Love

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 6, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: June 6, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B00004T8ZB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,720 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Paul Sheehan on June 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Pet Sounds clones are a dime a dozen. Every month someone, somewhere, claims unearned kudos for the latest indie fad by comparing it with the Beach Boys' 1966 masterwork. In the case of Fold Your Hands Child, however, there really is no other precedent. On the evidence of their 3 earlier efforts, Belle & Sebastian seem incapable of writing a bad tune, but here they've transcended even those illustrious early works: 11 perfectly cut pop gems, as graceful and exacting as Brian Wilson used to produce.
Comparisons will inevitably be made with the album's predecessor, The Boy With the Arab Strap. One of those songs in particular points to the new direction, `Dirty Dream Number 2', the exquisite soul pastiche. Sarah Martin's violin works similar wonders here on `The Model', `Don't Leave the Light On Baby', `Women's Realm' and `There's Too Much Love', the sweetest string sounds imaginable, soaring and diving, wringing every nuance of heartbreak from the accompanying lyric. The same soulful vivacity infuses the rest of the album - call it, then, `Dirty Dream Numbers 3 to 13'.
`I Fought In a War' begins like an ancient folk hymn, then carries its elegiac tone into a contemporary pop setting. The harpsichord, another new feature, seems custom-built for the B&S musical blueprint. It adds extra fervour to `Waiting for the Moon to Rise' and propels `The Model', the latter a classic Stuart Murdoch tale of emotional confusion, using painting as a metaphor for a dysfunctional relationship. In stark contrast is the concentrated, hesitant `Beyond the Sunrise', which demonstrates how impeccably arranged the sound has become.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Green Arrow on June 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
...Belle and Sebastian release another album telling us that music is alive and well. Belle and Sebastian have to be my favorite band of all time. They've made four albums and five EP's and not one has been a dud. The newest album, "Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasent", is not as immediately accessible as the previous three, but just as good. This is perhaps their most bitter album to date. Leading man Stuart Murdoch sounds angry and tired on most tracks (ex. I Fought in a War, The Chalet Lines, Don't Leave the Light on Baby) and on the others he almost always sings with poppy cynicism in his voice. Sarah Martin, the bands violinist(?), contributes a fine track (Waiting for the Moon to Rise) as does Isobel Campbell (Family Tree.) The biggest surprise here, well second biggest (see below), is Stevie Jackson's The Wrong Girl. After Seymour Stein, I wanted never wanted to hear Stevie's name again, but this makes up for the all the pain he's caused. The actual biggest surprise is Beyond the Sunrise. There is only one word to describe this song, horrific. Why did they have to go and taint this album with that crap? Anyway, other than that song, this album is great and belongs on every Belle and Sebastian fan's shelf. Note: If you want to buy your first Belle and Sebastian album, but don't know which to get, buy If You're Feeling Sinister first. It's the best one.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bryan M. MCNEELY on February 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Amongst B&S fans and critics alike, the debate over which album is the best could go on and on forever...probably long after the band finally calls it quits. When you've got in one corner the sunshine-soaked "The Boy With the Arab Strap," the solid, yet strangely menacing, "If You're Feeling Sinister" in another and this fantastic culmination of the "Belle and Sebastian sound" in yet another, it's hard to pinpoint one particular album as the best.

What certainly is a tough argument to make may be the most unnecessary. If there's anything that this band is truly good at is being consistent with their sound and their apparent motive for making music. The often-called "twee kids" and their baroque chamber-pop style has virtually been defined by B&S and you can hear it in its glory throughout their discography. They've been paving a new road with excellent LPs and EPs for us loyal fans to enjoy for years ahead. "Unique" is an understatement.

With that said, "Fold Your Hands, Child, You Walk Like a Peasant" only enforces the idea that when Belle and Sebastian are "in the zone," they don't let up. The wide variety found on this particular album (yet still maintaining the light, 60's-ish sound) is irresistible. "The Wrong Girl," for example, may be the most infectious B&S single to date. (Including the single-ridden "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" album!) Tracks like "The Chalet Lines" and "The Model" are classic B&S, yet sound fresh and new like an album truly should.

Though B&S have definitely carved a niche into popular music with their intelligent, yet vibrant and playful, sound, they continue to break ahead into all the nooks and crannies of their style to give us something wonderful to fall in love with...with each and every album. "Fold Your Hands..." is simply another strong (I say strongest!) example of how one band's initiative is too pure and precise to be broken.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luis Angel Martinez on December 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Watching "The Wrong Girl" video on MTV2 was the first time I heard B&S. I was surprised by the fact that it was a new song that sounded like if it was made 30 years ago. I liked that song so much that I decided to buy the album right away. After listening all the songs of "Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant" I realized that I bought the album of one of europe's greatest band.

They have a retro pop rock style mixed with lyrics that have a dark and modern atmosphere. "The Model", "The Chalet Lines", "Nice Day For A Sulk", and "Family Tree" are good examples of modern poems.

Most of the songs are sad specially "The Chalet Lines" and "I Fought In A War". It's amazing how sad rock music can be. The female voice is highly beautiful. The band have great musicians and composers. All the pianos, violins, guitars, and other instruments played on this album are perfect. After listening previous albums of B&S I consider this one the most elaborated.

I think it's a great CD to listen during winter time. It would be a perfect christmas present for anyone who loves sad music and rock and roll oldies.

Months ago I found out that the girls on the cover are members of a band called "Mum" from Iceland. They don't sound like B&S at all. They make electronic and experimental music that I highly recomend. As a matter of fact some members of B&S have a project called "Looper" which is similar to "Mum". Very interesting.
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