Belle and Sebastian are the darlings of the indie pop scene, which has been basically known for the past decade. This being their eighth studio release, they reinforce that they are not a band plagued by maturity and ten years of being indie pop superstars, they are Belle and Sebastian: always fresh and never ceasing to make youthful music.
The first track is “I Didn’t See It Coming” and starts the album with Sarah Martin’s vocals leading, which is a surprising, as one would think Stuart Murdoch’s infamous tone would be first heard. It turns out to be an enticing and creative surprise, as she and Stuart harmonize and play off of each other’s words, with bluesy guitar work in the background. During the build to the chorus they nod to everyone’s current economic situation: “we don’t have the money/ money makes the wheels of nowhere go ‘round,” but instead of this song becoming a pity party, these two tell you to “forget about it, honey,” and the song builds to a fantastic and joyful climax, with synthesizer echoing, giving it that twee-pop sound. Belle and Sebastian continue this happy mood with “Come On Sister,” which brings more synth and poppy goodness, sure to have you bobbing your head to the soft drum beats.
Then things slow things down a little with “Calculating Bimbo.” The percussion elements are more clearly heard in this song, and the slow drum rolls through as Murdoch pushes his voice to the limit and meets up with backing vocals for more harmonious moments. More of these vocally excellent moments come on “I Want The World To Stop,” where Stevie Jackson joins Martin in echoing Murdoch and you want to echo him too.
The rest of this album continues in this style, with “Write About Love, that has sort of the same idea of “I Didn’t See It Coming” and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, as if all of your problems don’t seem so bad anymore. This is the general feel and tone of this whole work; looking past those things that put you down with a proverbial screw it; I’m not going to be down.
On the last two songs, Belle and Sebastian finish ever so strongly. In “I Can See Your Future,” they incorporate majestic horn work and some orchestral elements effortlessly so that this complex song feels simple and elegant. But Belle and Sebastian aren’t done, they bring a tangy guitar sound and whispery vocals on “Sunday’s Pretty Icons,” finishing in their classic style, and leaving you wanting more, in a totally good way.
Belle and Sebastian have come a long way since Tigermilk, but have shown that they will always make excellent, witty and classic indie pop that can brighten any day. If Write About Love isn’t proof of this, I’m not sure what is. As expected, it is most definitely a contender for a spot on my list of top albums this year.
Download: Belle and Sebastian – Write About Love [MP3]