Belle & Sebastian
The Third Eye Centre
Silence can be deceptive. In the three-year interregnum between this release and previous album Write About Love, frontman Stuart Murdoch has directed a movie, got married and become a father; guitarist Stevie Jackson has released his debut solo record; and Mick Cooke has written a chart-topping album of children's songs. With new material on the not-so-distant horizon, The Third Eye Centre serves as a robust and supremely catholic reminder of the band's seemingly infinite reserves of instinctive pop savvy, besides the pliability of their material in the hands of remixers ranging from Richard X to Miaoux Miaoux. As with all gatherings of rarities and curios, the album has its dips and its peaks, the latter including the opening trio of the frankly bonkers Avalanches' Afrobeat remix of I'm A Cuckoo, effortless pop cut Suicide Girl and tiki-jazz bopper Love On The March. While the collection fails to hold the attention from beginning to end, there's ample entertainment to be had by dipping in at random. One for the fans, certainly, but a solid B&S primer for the curious.