A 2001 release from Glasgow-based Belle and Sebastian marks something of a return to form after their Fold your Hands Child, you walk like a Peasant, which although lovely in many ways was widely felt not to be up to Belle and Sebastian's usual standards. By contrast, every one of the songs on this EP makes me want to say 'yes: This is exactly what Belle and Sebastian do best.'
The title track, Jonathan David, is sixties-influenced and deeply groovy, with Stevie Jackson on lead vocals, a powerful tune with rich backing and Belle and Sebastian's other singers providing luscious two-, three- and four-part harmonies. Next up, Take your Carriage Clock and Shove It is witty and caustic, laid-back yet vicious: Stuart Murdoch's writing at its best.
The single closes with The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner, a long-time favourite which many people expected them to release years ago; they played it when they appeared on national TV for the first time at the start of 2000, by which time it was already a favourite at their rare live gigs, and the possibility of its release as a single was hinted at in the liner notes of their last single, Legal Man. We've had to wait a long time; it was worth it. With funky guitar, lyrics that always make me smile and a melody it's hard not to whistle along to, The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner reminds me - as do the other songs on this classic EP - why I fell in love with Belle and Sebastian all those years ago.