Belle and Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child You Walk Like a Peasant
As I aged, the album’s warm, flannel-ly imagery became somewhat tainted as teenage world-weariness seeped into my bloodstream. I began to see the “sinister” nature that loomed beneath the façade of its woodland animals and schoolyard rhymes. Murdoch’s songwriting dealt with dejection, deviancy and experimentation as much as it did the excitement of a snow day or the hum of insects on a muggy summer evening. It was all-encompassing, microcosmic even. There’s a quotable lyric tucked away in the liner notes of Sinister for by someone of any age or mindset.
Perhaps it’s the childhood nostalgia I reflected on back in issue 15 of my zine, a fear that I’ve grown up too fast, that sends me back to Belle and Sebastian in 2015. The twee playfulness that oozes from Murdoch’s tunesmithery allows me a sense of childlike wonder, while there’s enough rich subtext to keep my late-teenage mind properly stimulated. Lately, I’ve been revisiting the band’s 4th effort, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant, 15 years after its original release date. It may lack some of the consistency and coherence that makes Sinister so legendarily satisfying, but it makes up for it in creativity and sheer pluck. Most notably, it contains standout cut “The Model”, which charges forward on nimble harpsichord melodies and a groovy rock n’ roll rhythm section. But there are many other highlights. Guitarist Stevie Jackson strums out an awkward-yet-tender ballad on “Beyond the Sunrise” while cellist Isobel Campbell lends her feathery vocal to “Family Tree”, a lovely bit of chamber-pop doo-wop that leads into the record’s triumphant closer, “There’s Too Much Love”. Though often overlooked, Fold Your Hands is a beautifully collaborative effort that stands up strong in a B+S catalogue filled with hits - it's the sort of record that may not top a list of your all-time favorites but will always remain a constant in your rotation, sneaking into your conscious when it's most needed