The second EP was released in June 1997 and got to #41 in the UK charts. The title tracks features a guest vocal from Monica Queen and is, to this day, one of the band's most popular and enduring songs. It was one of the highlights of the recent live shows in late 2010:-
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian - Lazy Line Painter Jane
The other three tracks are a fine mix.
One is a lovely ballad in which Stuart's vocal delivery is fragile, seemingly teetering on the edge of breaking-up or going badly off-tune, and yet is the perfect accompaniment for a tune that has no single instrument ever dominating, whether it be the guitar, strings or percussion. And the last 15 seconds or so are just totally unexpected....a truly stunning and memorable bit of music when everything is considered.
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian - You Made Me Forget My Dreams
Another is one which could easily have been a single by any other band. It is classic indie-pop that blends twee and a sound that takes you back to the sort of things that used to come out of stereograms in the 60s and 70s. I dare you to avoid dancing as you listen - even if you are sitting down.
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian - Photo Jenny
The final track is quite bizarre. It's not so much a song as a short story narrated by then bassist Stuart David over a backing instrumental....but such was the popularity of said tune that it was later used again by the band on another early EP....but that's for another day:-
mp3 : Belle and Sebastian - A Century Of Elvis
The EP came with a great little short story printed on the back of the sleeve:-
Lazy Line Painter Jane prayed for an inspiration that would lift her above the mundanity of midday on a Thursday. She was in a hole, sat with egg and chips, watching buses through the plate glass and easy radio of some old cafe. She was too bashful to pray outright in the cafe, so she pretended to read her fortune at the bottom of her tea cup, and she got what she wanted that way.
The inspiration came along quite soon. It was lucky for her. It had seemed impossible, for her to feel ok, considering the trouble she was in. It seemed impossible, considering the gloominess of that lunchtime.
Jane had never managed to build Thursday into the weekend like some other people did. She didn’t look forward to the weekend anyway. The only good thing about the weekend was that it ushered in the following week. She was a slave to the working week. But she was unemployed.
She was doubtful whether she even deserved her Thursday gift. She had done a lot of swearing and shouting during her period. She almost felt guilty to take up the baton and run. But run she did. Straight to the cathedral graveyard. She took her idea straight through the cathedral graves and out, over the wall at the other end. She found herself in the East End of the city.
She took the inspiration and ran. It filled her like a playground balloon. Now she wasn’t treading on any toes. Jane’s agenda was clear. She just felt like running. To forget her joblessness and her hopelessness. Stripped of her present care, her skin was translucent, and she travelled fast and light over grass and stone precincts. She ran past lines of traffic into quiet streets where her breath and fast steps were the only sound she could hear. Stripped of her present care. And her guilt at being lazy.
Jane pretended she was making indie-rock videos as she tore through the East End. She thought herself quite magnificent, and caused only two minor disturbences as she went. She stopped running when she reached the river.
That was lovely. Reaching the river. A sudden wilderness of wasteland and trees. She may have been a bit worried if it wasn’t for the oxygen pumping in her head, acting like a drug. There was a path, dancing with industrial mayflys, constructed with an air of municipal grants. She followed it, ducking under flyovers, flying over traveller’s caravans. She ran past long curves of ash and alder. She ran until she flopped down in a bus shelter. The rain came on. She had run out of rock video fodder.
She waited in the bus shelter for a while. She had reached the main street of a town that was not part of the city at all. She had reached the provinces, and as such, the youth of the town flirted and taunted with an unaffected provincial air. Casuals drank QC. They put on a show for her, but they never challenged her directly. She was grateful they didn?t pick on her strangeness. Her inspiration had flagged, and she didn?t know how she could handle them by herself.
They went away, to be replaced by the town’s thinking girl’s talent. He smoked a regal cigarette, and paced around a little. Jane couldn’t decide if he was waiting for a bus, or if he had just come out because the rain had stopped. But she liked the sound his segs made on the wet pavement. And she admired him for his quiff. It was the biggest quiff that small town beatings would allow for. He sat down in the shelter. He obliged her by staring at her boots, and rubbing his forhead feverishly. He sat for the length of his cigarette and then went off, leaving Painter Jane alone.
She drank up the peace because she knew that she would be back in her house by fall of night. In the city, a dozen things would be vying for her attention simultaneously. She thought it was around six, but in fact it was nearer nine. She pulled her knees close to her chest. Her jogging bottoms smelled of pollen. She waited for the bus to take her back to the city. As she waited, she thought about how she had got her name, and what she was going to do about it.
Remember what I said about it being a highlight of the Barrowlands show?? I was probably about three rows back from the person who filmed this:-