The Boy with the Arab Strap
|The Boy with the Arab Strap|
|Studio album by|
|Released||7 September 1998|
|Studio||CaVa Studios, Glasgow|
|Belle & Sebastian chronology|
Recording and production
Stuart Murdoch recalled the recording process for this album felt very different than the previous two. The group spent several months working on it versus the previous albums which were recorded in just a number of days. The music itself was somewhat more experimental as well as more collaborative with some tracks written by Stevie Jackson and Isobel Campbell and more members of the group contributing vocals. Stevie Jackson sings lead on both "Seymour Stein" and "Chickfactor", Stuart David gives a spoken word performance on "A Space Boy Dream", whilst Isobel Campbell sings lead on "Is It Wicked Not to Care?" and duets with Murdoch on "Sleep the Clock Around".
The inspiration for the album's name came from the band Arab Strap, who are also from Scotland and briefly toured with Belle & Sebastian. An arab strap is a sexual device for retaining an erection, a fact unknown to Stuart Murdoch at the time. Arab Strap were reportedly less than pleased with their inclusion in the title of the album. When questioned about it, Arab Strap's leader/singer, Aidan Moffat, said "They have a sense of humour." Malcolm Middleton, the band's instrumentalist, added, "Because Arab Strap is quite an interesting name. The words go well together. That's why we chose it as a band name. We're friends with them, but there's a limit to putting someone else's name on an album. They're taking away something from us." He also mentioned that the album had been confused as a collaboration between the bands.
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||A−|
|1.||"It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career"||2:23|
|2.||"Sleep the Clock Around"||4:57|
|3.||"Is It Wicked Not to Care?"||3:22|
|4.||"Ease Your Feet in the Sea"||3:35|
|5.||"A Summer Wasting"||2:06|
|7.||"A Space Boy Dream"||3:01|
|8.||"Dirty Dream Number Two"||4:14|
|9.||"The Boy with the Arab Strap"||5:14|
|12.||"The Rollercoaster Ride"||6:36|
Belle and Sebastian
- Stuart Murdoch – lead vocals (all except where noted), guitar, keyboard
- Stuart David – bass, spoken word ("A Space Boy Dream")
- Isobel Campbell – cello, lead vocals ("Is it Wicked Not to Care?"), co-lead vocals ("Sleep the Clock Around", "The Rollercoaster Ride"), guitar, percussion, recorder
- Chris Geddes – keyboards, piano
- Richard Colburn – drums
- Stevie Jackson – guitar, lead vocals ("Seymour Stein", "Chickfactor")
- Sarah Martin – violin, keyboard, percussion
- Mick Cooke – trumpet
- Ian MacKay – bagpipes on "Sleep the Clock Around"
- Neil Robertson – bass on "A Space Boy Dream"
- Gail Anderson, Claire Campbell, Eilidh Campbell, Euan Forrester, David D MacKay and Sarah Wilson – the string section on "A SpaceBoy Dream" and "Dirty Dream Number Two"
Appearances in film
The instrumental of the title track "The Boy with the Arab Strap" was later used as the theme tune for the television show Teachers. Though the title track was not played, it was referenced in the 2009 film (500) Days of Summer, specifically the lyric "Colour my life with the chaos of trouble" which the title character quoted in her high school yearbook.
Part of the song "Seymour Stein" is briefly featured in the 2000 film High Fidelity. The track was also in the film Definitely, Maybe starring Ryan Reynolds and Isla Fisher. In 2011 "Sleep the Clock Around" was used in the AMC (an American cable TV network) series The Killing (season 1, episode 4, "A Soundless Echo"). The scene depicted actress Kacey Rohl playing the role of Sterling listening to music from an iPod in a high school hallway.
- Murdoch, Stuart. "Sleevenotes - The Boy With the Arab Strap". Belle & Sebastian.
- "Belle & Sebastian: 'I Didn't Know An Arab Strap Was A Cock Ring'". YouTube. NME. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Laurence, Alexander (May 2001). "An interview with Arab Strap". Free Williamsburg. Retrieved 2006-07-03.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Boy with the Arab Strap – Belle and Sebastian". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Tucker, Ken (11 September 1998). "The Boy With the Arab Strap". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Sullivan, Caroline (11 September 1998). "Belle and Sebastian: The Boy with the Arab Strap (Jeepster)". The Guardian.
- Hochman, Steve (29 August 1998). "Belle and Sebastian, 'The Boy With the Arab Strap,' Matador". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Mulvey, John (3 September 1998). "Belle & Sebastian – The Boy With The Arab Strap". NME. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Josephes, Jason (October 1998). "Belle & Sebastian: The Boy with the Arab Strap". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 4 June 2003. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
- Plagenhoef, Scott (18 February 2018). "Belle and Sebastian: The Boy with the Arab Strap". Pitchfork. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
- Ratliff, Ben (17 September 1998). "The Boy With The Arab Strap". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Belle and Sebastian". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 59–60. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- Wolk, Douglas (October 1998). "Belle and Sebastian: The Boy With the Arab Strap". Spin. 14 (10): 140. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Christgau, Robert (December 15, 1998). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 26 February 2016.