(Rough Trade, 2006)
I happen to enjoy the snow, which is lucky cuz we’re havin’ a real humdinger here in New York City right now. Woo-ee! This is one wintry mix I’ll not soon forget! Time to warm my ears next to one last Belle and Sebastian single… let’s see… it’s… let me find it… ah, yes: “White Collar Boy.” This has an easy gait that’s quite reminiscent of B&S oldie “The Boy With the Arab Strap,” though it, like “The Blues are Still Blue,” stomps along much more sexily, even edging its way towards glam territory in those bursts of squealing guitar. And a special tip of the cap to the excellent – and entertaining – use of backing vocals, a strength throughout the Life Pursuit era. Showing once again that the band’s influences range wider than we might’ve guessed, Rod Stewart scores the cover treatment on the reverse with a dignified, horn-laced “Baby Jane” that was recorded live for Sirius. Stuart Murdoch’s aching vocal may or may not be a Rod impersonation, but it works perfectly in the context of the music and lyrics… even if you do decide to chuckle. An unlikely winner, and hands-down the best B-side of the recent singles.