Review: Belle & Sebastian – Days of the Bagnold Summer




The band perfectly mix music and narrative in this soundtrack.

  • 10

Belle and Sebastian are a band known for an indie-pop sound and melancholic ballads. Their most recent album is a movie soundtrack for the first feature directed by Simon Bird. The film is a quirky story about a metal-obsessed boy and a recently divorced mother spending a summer together, which is woven into the sounds produced by Belle and Sebastian. The soundtrack includes previous songs by the band, instrumentals, and some new tracks. 

In recent years, Belle and Sebastian have been experimenting with a new electronic sound, straying away from their usual folk acoustics and adapting to the theme of dance music. However, with this new album, they went back to their roots, the album echoes their older sound, which is quite exciting. 

The album opens with a slow acoustic version of their new single ‘Sister Buddha’, which begins on quite a melancholic note. The introduction has quite a simple sound, with a duet of acoustic guitars that are extremely pleasing to listen to. There are more instrumental tracks on the album, such as ‘We Were Never Glorious’, which harbours a similar tone but also adopts a mystical sound through the use of distorted guitar and sound clips from the movie, creating quite a euphoric feeling in the song. 

The next song, ‘Did the Day Go Just Like You Wanted?’, is interestingly sad, with a harmony that hangs on minor notes, creating a sinister tone. Belle and Sebastian are a band that can perfectly encapsulate mood, which is why they are fully capable to aid the narration of a movie.

Old songs are also woven into the soundtrack, like their popular song ‘Get Me Away from Here I’m Dying’, which has lyrics that suitably fit into a comedy film that revolves around a misfit teen. Similarly to this, a new song introduced, ‘I’ll Keep It Inside’, has beautiful lyrics that also fit into the themes of the film. The band’s well-known ability to produce ballads does not disappoint in this album.

 This album makes me look forward to seeing the film, and how the songs will gain more effect when they intertwine with a story. 

Belle & Sebastian’s Days of the Bagnold Summer is out now via Matador.


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