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Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

IF BELLE & Sebastian’s last album, Dear Catastrophe Waitress could have been described as something of a hit-and-miss affair (owing to the departure of two prominent band members), then their latest, The Life Pursuit, shows they have come to terms with the departures and grown in stature.

It is arguably the most cheerfully upbeat and best long-player of their career, brimming with a sunshine energy that brings a welcome ray of warmth into an otherwise cold, bleak winter.

Produced by Tony Hoffer, the Glaswegian favourite’s seventh album is an endearing mix of classic B&S sounds and newer, even more positive sentiments that draw heavily from the early-to-Middle Seventies era as well as 60s Beat pop.

Lyrically, Stuart Murdoch continue to be inspired by the life around him, from white collar boys to girls having crushes on each other – but they’re presented in a much stronger fashion.

The Blues Are Still Blue recalls the clap-happy retro-rock of The Cars at their very best, as well as the glam-rock of T-Rex, while former single, Funny Little Frog is pure Motown pop and incredibly infectious to boot.

There’s an enticing beat and some excellent piano chords running throughout the impossibly breezy opening track, Act of the Apostle which kicks things off as they mean to go on.

While the country-tinged guitar riffs of Another Sunny Day recall the upbeat vibe of The Mamas and The Papas and more contemporary artists such as Johnathan Rice.

There are still quieter moments, of course, such as the endearing Dress Up In You, with its lovely boy-girl vocal layering, or the sweet album closer, Mornington Crescent, which ends things on a pensive note.

But on the whole this is a self-consciously upbeat affair, as though Murdoch has finally struck the ideal formula for writing the perfect indie-pop song.

The funky Sukie In The Graveyard combines some shuffling beats and organs with a vocal style that recalls Queen Bitch-era Bowie, while the album takes a tour into really psychedelic territory with the spaced-out Song For Sunshine, which emerges as smooth and satisfying as a cruise down California’s Route 101 at the height of summer.

Strong, too, is the incredibly catchy For The Price of a Cup Of Tea, which effortlessly combines the album’s ability to marry some genuinely infectious mainstream melodies with the off-kilter indie style that is the B&S trademark.

The Life Pursuit is therefore something of a masterpiece for Murdoch and co, so make sure you join the pursuit to buy it.

Track listing:

  1. Act Of The Apostle Part 1
  2. Another Sunny Day
  3. White Collar Boy
  4. The Blues Are Still Blue
  5. Dress Up In You
  6. Sukie In The Graveyard
  7. We Are The Sleepyheads
  8. Song For Sunshine
  9. Funny Little Frog
  10. To Be Myself Completely
  11. Act Of The Apostle Part 2
  12. For The Price Of A Cup Of A Tea
  13. Mornington Crescent

  1. Enlightening

    ELIZABETH SMITH    Feb 5    #