We’ve been reviewing the Late Night Tales series for a while now and this second offering from Belle and Sebastian may just be the best yet. There’s the 1960s influences that you would expect, including Joe Pass’s 1969 Time for Us and Blood Sweat and Tears’ Spinning Wheel from the same year. But the band have also included a far broader mix of styles from jazz, to new wave, folk to the modern synth-pop funk of Toro Y Moi.
This breadth helps it fulfill the Late Night Tales brief, of a 25 track collection of music to listen to in the wee small hours, superbly. For those unfamiliar with this brief each compilation also contains a cover version by the curators, with Belle and Sebastian providing one of the most indie pop moments of the year with their endearing take on The Primitives’ Crash, a staple of many a mid-1980s indie disco. There’s also a spoken word track on the end, with Paul Morley reading the third part in his Lost For Words story.
The format is also a chance for the curator to really show off their musical knowledge and this is packed full of rare tracks that deserve a far wider audience. Among the best examples are the exquisite jazz noodlings of harpist Dorothy Ashby’s and her track Soul Vibrations. This is followed by the inclusion of King Crimson off shoot McDonald and Giles with their laid back prog rock classic from 1970, Tomorrow’s People.
Toro Y Moi’s Still Sound from his 2011 album Underneath the Pine gives the mix added credibility, while Ce’cile’s 2002 Rude Bwoy Thug Life, with its Cure sample, provides the fun.
Final mention goes to the welcome inclusion of new wave oddities Pete Shelley’s Homosapien (Dub) and The Pop Group’s Savage Sea, which sound just perfect nestled in among the likes of the Stan Tracey Quartet and Broadcast.
For Belle and Sebastian fans I’d say this is a must as it showcases the bands influences from the past and present perfectly. But even if their fey indie pop is not for you there’s still a lot to enjoy on this fascinating compilation.
by Joe Lepper