God Help The Girl may just be the project that Belle & Sebastian mainman Stuart Murdoch was born to write. An indie-popera of sorts, it describes the life and lusts of a girl as she dreamily goes about her day and drunkenly looks for love in discos. It’s an expansive, eclectic set of classic pop, with nods to Dusty Springfield, Love, Phil Spector, Motown and The Zombies.
Murdoch’s reliably sharp lyrics teach us that the protagonist has “a number of a girl I know, who gets hallucinogens from a pair of hooligans”. Later she must “run away; they’re playing a decent song at last, I guess I’ll have to dance with Cassie, because the dream boy never asks”.
Vocals are shared by a plethora of indie sweethearts, the principal responsibilities going to Catherine Ireton, discovered by Murdoch after she graced a B&S sleeve. Other notable singers include Neil Hannon (none more arch) and Asya of Smoosh, who delivers I Just Want Your Jeans beautifully. One downside, though, is a remake of B&S hit Funny Little Frog. The version here appears to have been “Ronson-ised”, rather spoiling the flow. Still, this is a minor quibble, GHTG further confirms Murdoch as one on the finest songwriters of his era.