World Atlas have taken Stuart Murdoch’s lament “no one writes them like they used to, so it may as well be me” and decided that seeing as Belle and Sebastian don’t write them like they used to, they’re going to.
They nail it spot on with the swirling strings and floorshaking soul beat of The Winter Stories, but there’s a more than a whiff elsewhere that they’ve simply borrowed Belle and Sebastian’s watch and told them the time.
The title alone of Girl On A Boy’s Bike sounds like it came from a B+S song title generator and despite their myspace claim that they like ye-ye, the only tangible French influence to XOXO is that, like Legal Man, it sounds like the theme tune to Eurotrash.
There’s evidence aplenty on this ep that World Atlas have the talent to give up the pastiche and make their own mark. I desperately hope they do because nearly every band who try to sound like B+S are terrible; this lot, with a little more confidence and a little less deference, could be something special.