Belle & Sebastian
Lazy Line Painter Jane
(Jeepster 002)

I approached this EP expecting more of the wonderful Donovan-esque pop evidenced on If You're Feeling Sinister. Initially I was disappointed because it wasn't more of the same, but when I realized how ridiculous that was, I gave it some more listens and concluded that Belle & Sebastian are deserving of any and all hype they receive.

The title song is great, similar in structure but not in sound to the album. Featuring Monica Queen as guest vocalist, the song sounds like a really raw Beautiful South song (that's a compliment). "You Made Me Forget My Dreams" is a pretty, sparse piano ballad that has the same loose, lazy-in-the-studio feel of the previous track, and crossfades into a clever surprise ending.

"Photo Jenny" is a bright pop song that suffers a bit from overly precious lyrics (not a complaint I have with very much of Belle & Sebastian's material). Sounds a bit like the Kinks, and again features Monica Queen on vocals. (Monica Lewinsky was unavailable, as was Monica Hacker from high school.)

"A Century of Elvis" is a charming spoken-word over organ-pop song that benefits from the Scottish accent, which could even perk up a recording of a Douglas Coupland novel. Overall, this is 17 minutes well spent. No songs that I'd call my all-time favorite, but lesser Belle & Sebastian is still mightier than great Oasis.

Review by Dele Bransen