Since being launched on the River Clyde in Glasgow in 1996 the good ship Belle And Sebastian has sailed far and wide on the oceans of international indie-pop, stockpiling a treasure trove of gold and silver records, a loyal legion of fans and critical kudos by the barrel-load.
The current line-up has been in place for more than 10 years, selling over 3 million albums, releasing a dozen singles and playing countless sold-out concerts around the world. During this period the band also moved from their original label for the UK and Europe, Jeepster - through which they released five studio albums - to Rough Trade.
Moving to Rough Trade cleared the way for the band to collaborate with producer Trevor Horn in 2003 on Dear Catastrophe Waitress, their fourth gold-selling record after debut Tigermilk (1996) If You’re Feeling Sinister (1996) and The Boy With The Arab Strap (1998). All three singles from the album reached the UK top 20.
Three years later, the band decamped to California to record The Life Pursuit with Beck producer Tony Hoffer, a record that took B&S into the UK album top 10 for the first time and went on to sell more than a half a million copies globally. A key highlight of the touring for the group's seventh long player was a sold-out show with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, where they played to an audience of 18,000.
B&S repeated the formula of The Life Pursuit in 2010 with Belle And Sebastian Write About Love, recording in California with Hoffer. Notable guests on the album include Norah Jones and actress Carey Mulligan, a long-time B&S fan. In the UK, Write About Love equalled its predecessor's album chart position of number 8.
The latest installment in the illustrious recording career of Belle And Sebastian came with the release of The Third Eye Centre in June 2013, a gathering of rarities and B-sides from the past decade. After touring festivals last summer, including a headline slot at Pitchfork Festival, they have returned to the studio to work on new material. With a recording deal in place with Matador and a publishing deal at Polar Patrol, there will be more to look out for from Belle and Sebastian in 2014.