Belle and Sebastian release a live album, ‘What To Look For In Summer’, on Matador Records.

The double LP and CD set is a ‘best of’ document of the Glasgow sextet’s 2019 live sets, including the Boaty Weekender, the band’s cruise around the Mediterranean in the summer of 2019 with shipmates including Mogwai, Django Django, and Camera Obscura.

The 23 tracks are available now as a vinyl double album as well as CD, download and stream.

Compiled in lieu of a Covid-stymied album which was to have been recorded in Los Angeles, the extra time in hand has given the live release, the band say, a little bit extra care and attention.

“We’d been badgered by our fan base to put out recordings of the shows,” frontman Stuart Murdoch says of the impetus for the release.

“It was something to focus on,” says Stevie Jackson. “That was very, very nice.”

“It was quite nice to be doing that when we couldn’t even see each other,” Sarah Martin agrees.

Despite the majority of fans responding to Stuart Murdoch’s Twitter poll that their own favourite live albums were of a single concert, the band instead went down the ‘Yessongs’ route, picking the 23-song tracklisting from a spread of shows from 2019.

“For a while, the working title of the record was ‘Live and Meticulous’,” Murdoch adds, although eventually deciding against naming the album after Thin Lizzy’s ‘best bits’ live collection, ‘Live and Dangerous’.”

With old farourites like ‘My Wandering Days Are Over’, ‘The Boy With The Arab Strap’ and ‘Seeing Other People’ mixing with more recent songs such as ‘Poor Boy’ and ‘We Were Beautiful’, it seems that the track listing was, indeed, almost random – although there are three songs from 2000’s ‘Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant’ which the band played in full at the Boaty Weekender.

There’s also a Sarah Martin-led version of ‘Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John’, originally sung by Norah Jones on 2010’s ‘Write About Love’.

“It just feels like you’re having your friends around for dinner and you want everything to be right,” Murdoch says of the band’s love of performing live. “No matter how miserable your songs are – maybe most of the fans have learned to love these songs in a bedroom or a kitchen – when you come out to a show, it’s a different thing. You just want everybody to feel good.”

“Touring the band is something that I never thought we’d do,” the singer adds. “It’s turned into the thrill of a lifetime, really, in a manifest, physical way. It’s just the nicest experience that I think I’ve had in my life.”

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