Never released in North America, This is Just a Modern Rock Song was Belle & Sebastian’s fourth EP, continuing their early tradition of supplementing albums with EPs of non-album tracks and new material. The title song is a slow-burning seven-minute epic, which is then followed by the sunshine, fresh lemonade and organ twiddlings of I Know Where The Summer Goes. How you feel about The Gate will depend on how you feel about Isobel Campbell’s voice at this early stage - it might come as a slight surprise if you’re already more familiar with the maturity and control on her recent collaborations with Mark Lanegan.
Today’s playlist track is the final song on the EP. Slow Graffiti was originally written for The Acid House, the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s collection of short stories of the same name. This, unusually for a Belle & Sebastian EP, means it’s not a wholly original composition. It is, however, a beautiful one, with Stuart Murdoch’s voice taking confident flight over what could almost pass for a Northern Soul track played at the wrong speed. Some deft piano accompaniment and subtle brass know exactly when to drop in and out of the song, never more so than after the second verse:
So how about it?
Show me, please, how I will look in twenty years
And let me please interpret history
In every line and scar that’s painted there in front of me
Only four years to go before the twenty is up, Stuart…