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Underachievers Please Try Harder

3.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 20, 2004
"Please retry"
$12.99
$4.45 $0.76
$12.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Suspended from Class
  2. Keep It Clean
  3. A Sisters Social Agony
  4. Teenager
  5. Before You Cry
  6. Your Picture
  7. Number One Son
  8. Let Me Go Home
  9. Books Written for Girls
  10. Knee Deep at the NPL
  11. Lunar Sea
  12. I Don't Want to See You
  13. Footloose and Fancy Free
  14. Teenager (Mpeg Video)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 20, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B00015HVWO
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,098 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
First off, let's deal with all those nitwits out there who've got Belle & Sebastian pegged as some kind of sacred cow; if we're gonna play 'name that influence', then this review will be a thousand times longer than it needs to be, and I won't even get around to reviewing the actual LP!

Besides, this has some of the best songs Petula Clark never wrote. Particularly "A Sister's Social Agony", one of the best (and few) doo-wop-esque ditties I've heard since The Flamingoes.

The album starts off great, with "Suspended From Class", "Keep It Clean", "A Sister's...", and "Teenager", lulls a bit in the middle (minus a star for re-writing L. Cohen's "Suzanne" and calling it "Your Picture"; shame on you guys), then picks up a bit near the end.

For those in need of a chill pill fix, this'll do the trick.
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Format: Audio CD
Seems like many people are mad that this isn't Bell & Sebastian. Well, It's not. It's probably closer to the stylings of The Clientelle or late era Yo La Tengo -- and they're not Scottish...?

Anyway, there are few, if any, synths -- the warm recording and instrumentation are all they need to make their music work. The girl/boy vocals are each unlike anything sung in at least 20 years and together just make me want to melt.

Also, fans of Saturday Looks Good to Me will enjoy, but I must warn you -- this album never really rocks out. It keeps a cool melodic additude throughout. Lunar Sea is bliss.
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Format: Audio CD
The singer's voice is perfect for the style of music, and the studio production is excellent. The songs have a coy tone, but with a self-aware humor that is more smart kitsch than merely adolescent. The spare arrangements are a pure pleasure. C'mon gang; this music is pretty good. This isn't The Breeders or Belly so dont expect dark tones and anger.
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Format: Audio CD
Despite the protestations of some here, this CD resembles nothing so much as early B&S, albeit often with "thicker" production values. That is, except for the moments when it sounds like longlost rock and roll of the 50s or 60s era.

HIGHLIGHTS:

"Suspended from Class" is a poignant look at the awkwardness of wanting to be "more than friends" with its catchy refrain of "I should be suspended from class/I don't know my elbow from my arse". "Teenager" sounds like it's slipped through a time warp from the early 60s, a bossa novaish backbeat coupled with a tremeloed guitar. In it, one of the band's female singers chides a male friend for chasing after a girl who's all fluff, no substance, while adding a subtle tinge of jealousy as a subtext. "Number One Son" is a brisk number that incorporates some tasteful strings in its tale of a woman struggling in her relationship with a man who can't get paternal acceptance. If it weren't for the Scottish accent, you might be persuaded "Let me Go Home" is old Motown with its nimble bass and handclap and tambourine rhythm.

BOTTOM LINE:

B&S fans should adore this. Indie pop fans might also think this is the "cat's pajamas" to steal a phrase from the decade they reference most. Those not in those two categories will want to listen first to see if it's their cup of tea. In the end, I just couldn't find an emotional connection to this often enough to make it a must for my collection.
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Format: Audio CD
i've been listening to this for three days now, with very little in between. see, normally, i listen to various music which would fall under the categories indie and emo, but not just to be emo. before i found this i was on an at the drive-in binge mixed in with some drive like jehu, sparta, million dead, fugazi and cursive. i saw this album on some emo girl's xanga, and though i usually don't trust emo girl's music taste, i liked the cover, and figured i'd get it and see how i liked it. i have no idea what anybody means by folk pop, because this doesn't seem related to the folk im familiar with, except that it's pretty much oblivious to subject matter. but anyway...this album is really great...production, tracyanne's voice, the beats and selection of instruments. my only complaint is the guy's singing. it's not unbearable but close. especially on the song "your picture". i have to skip over that now, it's like they give him the least rhythmic songs to sing on too. the two bonus tracks aren't really very necessary either. this album isn't emo - i didn't even have to say that - but it is something people could appreciate for...the same reason. make sense? best songs are "suspended from class", "teenager", "number one son" and "lunar sea". light one up and put this cd on, it'll feel good.
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Format: Audio CD
people do need to remember that B&S themselves owe a huge debt to Scottish musicians such as Donovan, as well as bands such as Love (from whom they got massive amounts of musical ideas, i.e. every horn arrangement they've done) in terms of sound and structure. that doesn't make them derivative, however. just more in a long line of excellent quietish chamber pop bands from the British Isles. that said, i agree with both sides, really. there are flashes of brilliance here, but at the same time it can get a bit too B&Sy for its own good. so, not a masterpiece, but not a complete waste, either.
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