Scottish indie-rockers Belle & Sebastian serve up a little something to tide over their rabid, bookish fanbase while they work on a new album (which is supposedly a soundtrack for their upcoming feature film!). The BBC Sessions collects highlights from gigs at the station from 1996 to 2001, but it’s far from a typical greatest-hits cash-grab, documenting the group’s baby steps toward becoming a fully functioning live band.
While the performances range from charmingly rough to pretty OK, it’s hard to recommend this to anybody who’s not already a frequent visitor to the B&S twee-house. Early takes of “The State I Am In” and “Like Dylan in the Movies” are beautifully tentative, but the previously unreleased tracks — cast-offs from the so-so Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant era — add little to the band’s formidable canon. B&S obsessives will snap this up (it’s the last recording to feature founding member Isobel Campbell), but ultimately, BBC Sessions works better as artifact than art.