Belle & Sebastian, “Days of the Bangold Summer” (Matador)
Ask some people if they’ve seen a certain film and they answer “No, but I read the book.” For their part, Belle & Sebastian offer those asked if they’ve seen “Days of the Bangold Summer” the chance to say, “Not yet, but I’ve already heard the soundtrack.”
The Scottish band’s latest provides the songs to Simon Bird’s directorial debut — about a summer shared by divorced librarian Sue Bangold and her teenage son Daniel — based on the 2012 graphic novel by Joff Winterhart and not scheduled for release until next year.
No matter, because whether working with the past, present or future, Belle & Sebastian know how to adapt.
The long-ago on “Days of the Bangold Summer” is invoked almost at the start, with a newly recorded version of “I Know Where the Summer Goes,” originally on a 1998 EP, whose lyrics about the summer doldrums seem custom-made. Also making a return appearance, in a slightly more polished version than in 1996, is “Get Me Away from Here I’m Dying,” which, what a coincidence, fits seamlessly with the rest new songs.
Turning to more conventional soundtrack norms, there are four instrumentals, from melancholic opener “Sister Buddha (Intro)” to closer “We Were Never Glorious,” which incorporates dialogue from the film.
Highlights among the new songs include the gently thump of “Sister Buddha” and “Did the Day Go Just Like You Wanted?” whose second line is “Or did you hold on with your fingernails?” and which offers keen insight into realistic parent-child dynamics.
Bandleader Stuart Murdoch says most of the ideas came to him quickly after reading the book and Bird also had a voice in the song selection, so the paring of sound and vision should be a good match.
Once you’ve heard the music, you can wait for the film — or read the book.