Sure, they’re basically a rip-off of The Vaselines and The Velvet Underground, but I don’t really care when Belle and Sebastian make things as lazily pretty as If You’re Feeling Sinister.
Essentially just some guitar and a very nice voice, it’s endlessly lulling even when the lyrics verge into the surreal – “She was into S&M and Bible Studies, not everybody’s cup of tea” – and that weird keyboard thing comes in at the end. For a song called If You’re Feeling Sinister it’s on the whole a quiet, calm inoffensive listen – although, again, those lyrics are a bit darker and stranger – from a generally calm and inoffensive band.
When you get name-checked in the most Zooey Deschanel-y of all Zooey Deschanel films – 500 Days of Summer – you know you have serious indie cred. They even managed to overturn the characteristically schizophrenic Pitchfork review of their 1998 follow up to the album this song lends it’s name to (they had originally given Boy With The Arab Strap a 0.8, a staggeringly dickish figure that by being precise attempts to lend credibility to a review so terrible and contrarian they just deleted it later. And then called it one of the top 10 albums of the year. Typical). I’m willing to make a bold move and set aside my hate of Zooey though and agree with her on this one, largely because their lightly-accented Scottish singing sounds so superlative. I still hate you though, Zooey.