A band that takes its name from a French children's television series about a boy and his dog would almost have to be precious, and to be certain, Glasgow, Scotland's Belle and Sebastian are precious. But Belle and Sebastian don't have the negative qualities that the word connotes: they are private but not insular, pretty but not wimpy; they make gorgeous, delicate melodies sound full-bodied. The seven-piece band has an intimate, majestic sound that is equal parts folk-rock and '60s pop, but leader Stuart Murdoch's gift for not only whimsy and surrealism, but for odd, unsettling lyrical details keeps the songs grounded in reality. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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