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Dear Catastrophe Waitress

4.1 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 25, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

DEAR CATASTROPHE WAITRESS
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 25, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rough Trade Us
  • ASIN: B000XFZSTA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,059 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Like most veteran fans of Belle & Sebastian, I worried about this CD for months before it came out. Would the band evolve away from all the things we love about them? After learning that this album would be produced by Trevor Horn, my concern was that it would sound much too fake and polished--like a cheap plastic version of their old works.
B&S singer Stuart Murdoch said (on the band's website I think) that in making Dear Catastrophe Waitress, he and the band had an ammount of fun that hadn't been achieved in making any of their albums since Tigermilk. Now that I've finally heard this new CD, I don't feel Tigermilk, but I certainly do feel the fun.
The band has traded their darkest cynicism in for more mature responses and even life-affirmation at moments; exchanged their flat and shaky vocals for strong and deliberate melodies and more harmonies than ever; and as far as instrumental arrangements, the dizziness and some of the etherealness has been replaced by energy and sunniness. The evolutions are of course in a direction that we tasted in their last two full-length albums and last several EP's, but they are most fully realised in Dear Catastrophe Waitress. And not everything has changed: their wit, silliness, playful melodies, and the chamber pop aspect are as strong as ever.
Any long-time fan will find here grounds to be nostalgic for the the good ole familiar Belle & Sebastian heard on classics such as If You're Feeling Sinister and The Boy With the Arab Strap. However, I recommend loving the fact that their sound has not become stagnant, and embracing this new style as lovely and refreshing!
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Format: Audio CD
I've heard a lot of negative reviews about this album, proclaiming that the Belle and Sebastian of the late 90's are just a memory now. No more will B&S be something we listen to when we are in are darkest times, looking for someone who understands how we feel, and blah blah blah...
I will personally attest that I bought this CD while feeling a little down and listening to it really cheered me up. That's pretty cheesy and sentimental to say, I realize, but it's true.
This isn't a new Belle and Sebastian. The lyrics are as clever and sarcastic as ever, and Stuart's voice is still as haunting, but now he's got good news to bring us!
These are songs about love, hope, and God even. And the joy of which Stuart sings is reflected by stunning instrumental arrangements. More horns and strings than on any other full length make this album a complete musical experience.
Songs like "If You Find Yourself Caught In Love" and "Roy Walker" are so happy that they near sappy, but never take themselves seriously enough to cross any sentimental lines.
Two standouts for me on this album are two songs that find Belle and Sebastian taking some interesting chances musically. The song "I'm a Cuckoo" is a Thin Lizzy tribute that captures the style and substance of that band, with double-guitar riffs and speech-like vocals. "Stay Loose" has an obvious '80s sound, but not as derivative or clichéd as some bands who have been riding the New New Wave. This song is laced with elements of Bowie, and, in my opinion, later Blondie.
When a band like Belle and Sebastian has gotten to be closely associated with the doldrums, it's really nice to hear them have a conscious change in heart.
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Format: Audio CD
Dear Catastrophe Waitress is Belle and Sebastian's fifth studio album, and I have to say they're back to their best. Not many other bands make it to five albums and still can claim they're at the height of their powers (eg. blur, radiohead etc.). Certainly the writing was on the wall for B&S. They rose to fame on the strength of their incredible no-budget debut "Tigermilk", which no-one heard on it's initial release as part of a school project. They toured, gained a fan base, released only EPs and refused to talk to the press. By the time they released their second album "If you're feeling sinister" they had perfected the art of lo-fi orchestral pop. Sadly they were still dreadfully shambolic live. They then reached a cross-roads. Basically they were selling too many albums and becoming too famous to claim they were still "lo-fi" and "underground". From this crossroads they sadly took the wrong path, and the next two albums "The boy with the arab strap" and "Fold your hands child, you walk like a peasant" (despite having increasingly bizarre names) committed the sin of deception. The band spent too much time trying to sound like they didn't care, trying to pretend they were still recording in someone's bedroom, ever fearful that Mum was going to come in and tell them to "Turn that bloody racket down!!". Also Stuart Murdoch generously let some of his less talented band mates try their hand at songwriting. Not the best idea...
Anyway, after "FYHCYWLAP" got a decidedly muted response from fans and critics alike, the band took some time off to record a soundtrack to the (brilliant) Todd Solondz movie "Storytelling".
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