Belle And Sebastian at End Of The Road 2013 – review

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Belle & Sebastian might not have surprised anyone with their last two albums, 2006's The Life Pursuit and 2010's Write About Love, but it seems their fans' love for them is growing even deeper - these two are their highest charting records, in the UK and America.

So as warmly as End Of The Road's other headliners have been received, the reaction Stuart Murdoch and co get is as frenzied as it would be at a tiny fan club gig. Every bit of stage banter is met with screams, and even relatively obscure cuts like the opening instrumental "Judy Is A Dick Slap" are treated like the cream of their canon.

With added strings and brass, and excellent mixing, Belle & Sebastian sound much meatier than on record, with fantastic harmonies and bountiful energy. "The Stars Of Track And Field" on If You're Feeling Sinister sounds positively weedy in comparison to the string-drenched, muscular version we hear tonight.

We could perhaps have done without "Sukie In The Graveyard" or "To Be Myself Completely" - not bad songs, but no way the equal of many stunning tracks not played tonight - but the closing trio of groovy '60s pastiche "Legal Man" (during which the stage is swamped by invited crowd members), "Judy And The Dream Of Horses" and "Get Me Away From Here I'm Dying" end the set - and indeed the whole of 2013's End Of The Road - on a high.

Tom Pinnock

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Editor's Letter

The Fourth Uncut Playlist Of 2015

This week's big distraction has been what appears to be a crazy number of early Aphex Twin tracks accumulating on Soundcloud (I've added the link below). Among the new stuff, though, please try Bop English; the new solo project of James Petralli from White Denim.