“Come Monday Night” – God Help the Girl

Me, this is the voice I most feel like hearing after McCauley’s. I love that last song but listening to it makes my throat hurt. “Come Monday Night” is a delicious lozenge.

God Help the Girl is the name of a side project by Stuart Murdoch, the principal singer and songwriter of Belle & Sebastian. B&S fans will clearly hear the Murdochian touch here in terms of the lilting melody and the general (for lack of a better word) twee-ness. After the dreamy, wordless vocal introduction, featuring a spare piano and a touch of strings, “Come Monday Night” picks up speed and lushness as vocalist Catherine Ireton sings with a sweet but solid presence—her tone is pure but not sugary—and that place in the verse where the melody takes a gentle turn upwards, three times in a row (the phrase we first hear starting at 1:01): isn’t that just meltingly gorgeous? Each successive upward turn is a whole step above the previous one, and Ireton’s voice makes the expanding leaps with airy aplomb; this phrase is the song’s distinct hook, and a mighty example of Murdoch’s melodic gift. Who plants hooks so casually in the second half of a verse? There’s no chorus in the song; he didn’t need it.

Described as “a story set to music,” God Help the Girl is name of both the group and the album; it’s a project Murdoch has been working on intermittently since 2004. Ireton, from Scotland, is lead singer on 10 of the 14 songs; the vocalists were initially recruited via an internet ad in 2007. Ireton is otherwise one half of the duo Go Away Birds (Murdoch sings on one of the songs on the band’s EP); she is also the woman pictured on the sleeve for “The White Collar Boy,” a B&S single. There’s a nice video introduction to the whole thing on the project’s web site (scroll down). The album will be released next month on Matador Records; MP3 via Matador.