Belle and Sebastian’s The BBC Sessions serves as both a collector’s summation of the band’s first five years as well as a heady introduction to them for B & S novices. Featured are unreleased tracks from a Peel session in 2001 as well as raw and immediate versions of classic tracks — most especially Tigermilk’s "The State I Am In" — all spread across its quiet two-disc splendor. (Disc one features radio sessions from 1996-2001, and disc two is a live set from Belfast at the close of ’01).
And while that doesn’t quite make this set revelatory by any means — save, perhaps, for the gorgeous wanderlust and beautiful melodies of "Slow Graffiti" — it does save the record from being only a gateway to the band or only a de-facto best-of. Compilations of this sort can rarely stand as both, and The BBC Sessions, through innovative and intelligent sequencing as well as a dedication to the band’s history, stands well above its peers.