- Belle & Sebastian: Stuart Murdoch, Stevie Jackson (vocals, guitar); Isobel Campbell (vocals, cello); Sarah Martin (violin); Mick Cooke (trumpet, bass); Chris Geddes (keyboards); Richard Colburn (percussion).
- Additional personnel: Greg Lawson, Cheryl Crockett, Alistair Savage, Elin Edwards, Liza Webb, Murray Ferguson, Clare McKeown, Lorna Leitch, Dervilagh Cooper (violin); Helen McSherry, Peter Nicholson (cello); Paul Fox (flute); Jenny Divers (saxophone); Ronan Breslin (trombone); Gary Grochla (double bass); Francis MacDonald, Alistair Cooke, Jonny Quinn (percussion).
- For their fourth and most cleverly titled album, Glasgow's fey folk-popsters Belle & Sebastian have constructed another 11 songs that at times reach into new musical and lyrical areas. Following secondary composer Stuart David's departure, de facto leader Stuart Murdoch divides the songwriting chores among the other members; yet what's apparent is the single-mindedness of Belle & Sebastian's song focus.
- The overall mood is even softer and more precious (if that can be believed) than their previous efforts. Murdoch and Chris Geddes' "Don't Leave The Light On Baby" is the band's attempt at a '70s soul ballad, a Wurlitzer adding a Music-of-My-Mind vibe to a lovers' dissertation. Isobel Campbell's "Beyond The Sunrise" is biblical Celtic-prog-folk, all flutes and acoustic guitar, while Jackson's own "The Wrong Girl" is an upbeat, country-ish lament with typically soulful Belle & Sebastian strings and trumpet giving the song an understated melodic kick. Of course, Murdoch contributes a classic or two--"I Fought a War" is a gentle away-at-the-battlefield tale imbued with the greatest sense of dread Murdoch's ever given a song. And "Woman's Realm" is the kind of pop stomper ARAB STRAP was packed to the gills with, highlighted here by its increasingly quiet surroundings.
Rolling Stone (6/22/00, p.130) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Precious....proving nobody out there minces as well as this band....embellishing on the coyly lavish arrangements of '98s THE BOY WITH THE ARAB STRAP without forgetting to flex real heart muscles....Nick Drake would have loved this band."
Spin (7/00, p.157) - 8 out of 10 - "...The record plays with the stereotype of B&S as wibbling fey-fop lollipops....upholstered with overdubs, strings, and, quite literally, bells and whistles, like a Colonial Williamsburg take on circa-'68 lite-pop..."
Entertainment Weekly (6/9/00, p.78) - "...Lavishly produced, the disc trades melodic inventiveness for orchestral bells and whistles...[yet] there are plenty of sublime moments..." - Rating: B
Alternative Press (7/00, pp.88-9) - 5 out of 5 - "...Chock-full of the sort of timeless pop moments for which B&S have become famous, but this time with a more expansive palette....[It's] their most mature, satisfying album yet..."
Magnet (8-9/00, pp.67-8) - "...It glides along with humid grace....trading confusion for confidence....wonderful, sweeping songs."
CMJ (6/5/00, p.3) - "...[They] quietly ease into adulthood with both soul and restraint, trading in wistful teenage nostalgia for a progressively refined...sense of longing and sadness..."
Melody Maker (5/30/00, p.54) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...The band that's too twee to be twue have released the same album you've heard and loved/hatedcounlodn;t give a toss about...three times already. For the faithful, there's a handful of goodies to be lapped up..."
Mojo (Publisher) (7/00, p.100) - "...A set which finds B&S more '60s-obsessed than ever. Given time, fans will warm to PEASANT..."
NME (Magazine) (12/30/00, p.78) - Ranked #26 in NME's "Top 50 Albums Of The Year".
NME (Magazine) (6/3/00, p.41) - 8 out of 10 - "...A superb record. Quintessentially Belle & Sebastian. Frustrating. Contrary. Insubstantial. Yet...still peerless, still irresistible."