When Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners) decided to try his hand at directing his first feature length film, he opined that he would like a band like Belle and Sebastian to provide the soundtrack. Deciding to approach the band directly, they jumped at the chance, even suggesting that they release the album before the release of the film to try and drum up some extra support.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Days Of The Bagnold Summer may be a soundtrack, but there is no doubt it is a typical Belle and Sebastian album too, with some subtle differences. There are of course a few instrumental tracks, which is not only a necessity when providing the musical backdrop of a film, but aligns with frontman Stuart Murdoch’s current interest in wordless compositions. Jill Pole is a gentle slice of melancholy with a heathy does of strings and banjo for good measure.
Bird was adamant that he wanted the film to use Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying from the band’s seminal album If You’re Feeling Sinister, so the band re-recorded it. While at it, they also re-worked I Know Where The Summer Goes. These early Belle and Sebastian songs are well known, yet are given a much brighter lustre when brought into the current millennium. These two tunes alone will be enough to have fans wanting to get their hands on the soundtrack.
Sarah Martin offers the brief Another Day, Another Night, as a frail reflection for one of the movie’s main protagonists. Did The Day Just Go Like You Wanted is Murdoch at his mournful best during the frangible tale. Safety Valve is more spritely musically, even if it doesn’t move away from the predominately acoustic based backbone of the album. It is also the oldest song on the record, being written by Murdoch during a period that pre-dates the forming of Belle and Sebastian.
Days Of The Bagnold Summer is a record that finds Belle and Sebastian revisiting the brighter acoustic sounds of their revered earlier works with considerable success with some of the band’s finest melodies in years. Not only is it a great stand alone record, but who else would be better suited to pen the songs for a film that explores a coming-of-age story, of a heavy-metal-loving teenager whose holiday plans fall through, leading to him to spend the summer with the person who annoys him most in the world: his mum.