At long last, all seven of Belle And Sebastian's "Jeepster" EPs have been collected into a convenient 2-CD set. Often considered their best work, and previously only available as hard-to-find imports or in a box set, the EPs, consisting of 25 songs recorded from 1996-2001, are now available for the price of a single frontline CD. The four tracks from the EP "This Is Just A Modern Rock Song" have never been released in the US before. Also available in a deluxe 3-LP gatefold vinyl set and a deluxe double CD hardbound book.
In many ways this collection, which compiles each of the band's out of print EPs from 1997-2001, is all the "greatest hits" you'll need by the Scottish combo. It's easy to take Belle and Sebastian for granted these days--they don't sound as good as they used to, and certainly its difficult to imagine them ever becoming as culturally/musically relevant as they were once upon a precious, fey little time. But this collection brings the listener back to a time when it was crucially important to find their import EPs, when no one else in the world seemed to be making indie-pop that was so full of sincerity and irony at the same time, nor as gorgeously crammed with orchestral elements and naughty-smart lyrics. "The State I Am In" has never sounded better, while "Lazy Line Painter Jane," which expanded their sound to include C&W-ish elements, is clearly one of the bands best tunes ever (and perhaps a more interesting direction than the vaguely soulful one they took later on). The almost-rolliciking, smartypants "Le Pastie De La Bourgeoise" is brutal and elegant. Mike McGonigal