Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch Presents God Help The Girl

Last year, Stuart made an open call for female singers (submissions required self-portraits, of course) to work on a new album and movie based on a story he wrote about a “better summer” featuring two girls and a guy. Murdoch’s Scottish Idol search bore fruit, helping him discover and record Brittany Stallings (Olympia, Washington) and Dina Bankole (Jackson, Michigan), and yielding a winning audition from Limerick-native Catherine Ireton, who takes most of the lead vocals on the forthcoming God Help The Girl LP. The project’s official site describes the sound as redolent of early B&S recordings while drawing on “musicals, sixties’ girl groups, eighties’ indie and, most of all, classic pop records.” And Stu’s psyched about Catherine: “In [her], Stuart has found a rare talent – her clear, lilting vocals bringing to life the characters in Stuart’s imagination and making for an ambitious and engrossing musical journey.” To be fair, he’s been psyched about her before; she previously contributed vocals to Belle & Sebastian’s “The White Collar Boy.” Something got him going this time. Maybe it was her self-portrait.

The record features nine different singers (including Neil Hannon from the Divine Comedy and Asya from Smoosh), B&S members, and a 45-piece orchestra conducted by Withnail & I composer Rick Wentworth. You can hear the Catherine-fronted orchestral bubblegum of lead single “Come Monday Night” at MySpace, or download below, and hear Stuart talk up the project with this video primer:

God Help The Girl – “Come Monday Night” (MP3)

Tracklist and vocalist designation:
01 “Act of the Apostle” – Catherine Ireton
02 “God Help The Girl – Catherine
03 “Pretty Eve In The Tub” – Stuart, Catherine
04 “A Uni?ed Theory” – Instrumental
05 “Hiding Neath My Umbrella” – Catherine, Stuart
06 “Funny Little Frog” – Brittany Stallings
07 “If You Could Speak” – Catherine, Anna Miles
08 “Musician Please Take Heed” – Catherine
09 “Perfection as a Hipster” – Neil Hannon, Catherine
10 “Come Monday Night” – Catherine
11 “Music Room Window” – instrumental
12 “I Just Want His Jeans” – Asya
13 “I’ll Have To Dance With Cassie” – Catherine
14 “A Down and Dusky Blonde” – Dina Bankole, Catherine, Celia Garcia, Brittany, Asya

God Help The Girl is out in North American on 6/23 via Matador, the previous day in Europe via Rough Trade.