An influential album. It might’ve been too influential. Before Sinister, a typical American underground rock band would’ve been someone like Unsane or the Jesus Lizard or Boss Hog — bands who had come from punk and hardcore, who made gnarled and ugly and physically imposing forms of riff-driven noise. Even the quieter forces on the underground, people like Elliott Smith, were still expected to make something heavy. Belle And Sebastian weren’t heavy. They were gloriously light. It took a long time for their influence to spread; it needed years to fully sink into the bloodstream of the indie rock world. But within, say, five years, people like Death Cab For Cutie had taken the band’s timidity, Americanized it, and turned it into something that resonated with American college kids. A few years after that, the biggest stars in indie rock were sensitive and proudly bookish souls like Sufjan Stevens and the Decemberists — a development that I don’t think would’ve happened if not for Belle And Sebastian’s influence.