Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (not in that order)

Unlike Robert Hughes, when I think of Robert Rauschenberg’s stuffed Angora goat wearing a car tyre, the first thing I think of is not anal intercourse. I suppose his thinking is clear enough: goat = randy plus car tyre = round hole. Q.E.D. Well, perhaps, but might it not also mean:

1 what a pervy old bugger my long-time favourite art critic has become;
2 goat = Richard Nixon plus car tyre = donut, giving us Tricky Dicky and the Donut What Ate Him. I’d pay to see that.

I’m glad to have lived long enough to hear the Galaxie 500 Peel Sessions. Yes I am.

At this early stage, I’m afraid, I am not too sure about the new Belle and Sebastian album, “The Life Pursuit”. Adding Trevor Horn’s production to the mix led them to the joyful sounds of “Dear Catastrophe Waitress”. That album seemed to play to all of B&S’s not inconsiderable strengths, and wrapped them in a newfound clarity and precision. Whereas this new one sounds a bit forced, a bit (and this is the bit that really hurts) dull. Which is not something one has been able to say about any other B&S album, even those all-too-democratic affairs that were as much miss as hit. (And, for what it’s worth, “Storytelling” is, in my opinion, far from the bad apple in the bunch that it is made out to be.) “The Life Pursuit” might yet contain three certifiable B&S classics, which might include “The Blues Are Still Blue”, “Dress Up In You” and “Act of the Apostle II”. But that is not quite enough. And yet, isn’t this the danger inherent in trusting record reviews, and the primary pitfall of being a reviewer: some records just take their own sweet time. Maybe this will be one of those. I sincerely hope so.


Listening to “The Life Pursuit” again now: I think I might be succumbing. This could be the last time I ever say anything about a record that’s less than six months old.