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God Help The Girl

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Audio CD, June 23, 2009
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Vinyl, June 23, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After the success of the most recent Belle And Sebastian album, "The Life Pursuit", band leader/singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch decided to pursue his dream of writing a rock musical scored for female singers. After auditioning vocalists via Internet contests, he made his choices and, with all members of Belle And Sebastian backing him up, recorded this breathtaking record. It combines the strengths and feel of early Belle And Sebastian records in a broader musical palette, which draws equally on musicals, 60s girl groups, 80s indie, and most of all, classic pop.


"Spanning glam, soul, country, and 70s AM rock...Murdoch is at his best detailing his famously quirky characters" --Pitchfork

1. Act Of The Apostle
2. God Help The Girl
3. Pretty Eye In The Tub
4. A Unified Theory
5. Hiding Neath My Umbrella
6. Funny Little Frog
7. If You Could Speak
8. Musician, Please Take Heed
9. Perfection As A Hipster
10. Come Monday Night
11. The Music Room Window
12. I Want Your Jeans
13. I'll Have To Dance With Cassie
14. A Down And Dusky Blonde

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 23, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B002736YNA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,097 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By WPH on June 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This album is an absolute masterpiece of postmodern honesty - equal parts hope and despair, to spectacular result. The album has the same thrilling qualities many people might attribute to some of the best work of the Smiths or others who combine a healthy touch of 60s-70s baroque with silky smooth singing and dead clever lyrics. Some of Stuart Murdoch's most achingly sweet productions and melodies come to life here with the dreamily perfect smorgasbord of expertly executed female vocals and impressive musicianship as well. This is a film soundtrack that does not need a film. God, I wish I could see that film! Beautiful craftsmanship like this is sadly uncommon in modern popular music. This will be a delightful and simply fun classic for years to come.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Demerjian on June 27, 2009
Format: Audio CD
To start, I agree with what the other reviewer has said. As I am only the second person to review this album, I thought I'd give some basic info potential fans may be wondering about...
1. If I am a Belle and Sebastian fan, will I find traces of their music in this and like it as a result? YES, many traces indeed, from Stuart Murdoch's actual singing to his clever lyrics to his lyrical phrasing to some very intelligent and proper British songwriting (Pretty Eve in the Tub is reminiscent of I Love My Car in it's cleverness). Some nice harmonies too from the group of female vocalists assembled.
2. Are the B & S songs on this album basically xeroxes of the original versions found of the Life Pursuit? NO. Acts of the Apostles is considerably different and Funny Little Frog is a slower, more soulful 70's version with lots of strings. Well worth the addition of them on this disc- not just filler.
3. Are there any throwaway tracks like on B & S's other peripheral project "Storytelling?" Sort of- there is a jazzy instrumental but it is only 1 minute long and it's actually kind of catchy in a pseudo Brubeck Time Out sense (nowhere near the level of that of course). Considering the amount of tracks on this disc, 1 quick filler song isn't bad.
Overall, this album contains extremely fun and smart British songwriting that made albums like XTC's Skylarking and Shelleyan Orphan's Century Flower so enjoyable in their time. It is not mired down in the self pity and pseudo despair that Smith lyrics are often consumed with so enough of the Smiths comparisons please! Lastly, there are some very strong female vocals on this album, most notably from a woman named Catherine Ireton who takes most leads and does a beautiful job with them. Not your typical B & S female vocalist- her voice is a pleasantly surprising soulful one. Well worth the money and a follow up.
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Format: Audio CD
After years of fronting the pop band Belle and Sebastian, Stuart Murdoch sought to shake things up by assembling some female vocalists and having them sing some songs he had written about a depressed adolescent girl, with Belle and Sebastian being the backing band. The project became known as GOD HELP THE GIRL, and on this eponymous album the singers are Alex Klobouk (the bespectacled beauty from B&S's "Wrapped Up in Books" music video), Brittany Stallings, Dina Bankole, Celia Garcia, Asya (of the band Smoosh), Linnea Jönsson (from Those Dancing Days), and finally Catherine Ireton. While everyone appears at least on backing vocals, Murdoch was very impressed with Ireton and she performs main vocals on the bulk of the songs.

Belle and Sebastian started as twee pop, and if their move to somewhat more mature stylings has got you down, you'll be pleased: this album is twee as all get out. Sure, there are the dark undercurrents of the protagonist committed for a time to a psychiatric ward, but many of the songs deal with the pressures of school, finding one's path in life, awkwardness around the opposite sex, etc.

But GOD HELP THE GIRL is also pure pop goodness, with lush harmonies, backing string arrangements and occasional wall-of-sound production. Comparisons to Phil Spector's 1960s girl bands are obvious, but this album never feels like a retread of the Sixties, due in large part to the quirky lyrics. Murdoch has written here some of the best songs of his career: "Musician, Please Take Heed", "Perfection as a Hipster" "I'll Have to Dance with Cassie". Plus there are lovely covers of two songs from Belle and Sebastian's
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alicia Enterman on July 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I'll be honest. I've been excited about God Help the Girl since word was first released of its existence. I was delighted to hear the snippets of songs released on imeem ("The Psychiatrist Is In" and "Perfection as a Hipster") and have been hoping the album would live up to how much I loved those tracks.

I was not disappointed. If you're looking for something overtly Belle-and-Sebastian-esque, this isn't quite it. Stuart Murdoch sings relatively little (though the other members of B&S make many appearances), leaving the vocals mainly up to a crack team of female vocalists who outdo themselves at every opportunity. God Help the Girl is, simply, a stunning collection of pure pop for now-and-then people -- those who dream of a return to Phil Spector's girl-group confections but with, perhaps, a bit more modern spice. Catherine Ireton's voice charms the listener as soon as she begins "Act of the Apostle" (yes, the album contains two retreads of tunes from The Life Pursuit -- namely "Act of the Apostle" and "Funny Little Frog", the latter done beautiful, soulful justice by Brittany Stallings, one of the two young imeem contest winners), but the harmonies introduced by the other vocalists later on are absolutely gorgeous. The album's high points lay in its more upbeat songs, usually anchored by B&S guitarist Stevie Jackson's trademark jangle -- songs like "Perfection as a Hipster" (a winning, if vaguely creepy, duet between Ireton and Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy), the title track, and "I'll Have to Dance With Cassie" never fail to make me smile.

This is not to say, of course, that the album is without its faults.
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