New Belle and Sebastian LP a New Ethereal Favorite

Belle and Sebastian 2010 Album Review

Originally published October 17, 2010   thehornrva.com

On Belle and Sebastian’s newest album, Write About Love, an array of intimate songs combine seamlessly into a great update to the quasi-60s style band from Scotland.

Write About Love, released five years after their last album, still holds the cult-favorite style we heard on the Juno soundtrack, but is a much more melancholy album than 2006′s The Life Pursuit. Although Write About Love includes many love songs, they all contain an emotional blend of sadness and optimism. The songs vary from upbeat to molasses-slow, but blend seamlessly together to create a trance-like album that is both easy to listen to and inspiring to hear.

Lead singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch teams up with a few guest vocalists like Stevie Jackson and Norah Jones (who’s jazzy-alto voice fits perfectly with Jackson’s on “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John”), while multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Sarah Martin takes on a few tracks herself.

One of the great things about this band are the lyrics, that mean something, but are easy to follow. Their laid-back harmonies are reminiscent of The Smiths and Bob Dylan’s more mellow moments, which makes their music seem like it’s from another time, with a contemporary twist. Belle and Sebastian combine the themes of life, love, religion, and financial hardship with the simplistic view that everything is not as complicated as we make it. Write About Love has some very powerfully written songs, presented as a surrealist vision of placid, mellow ease.

Many of these songs are about being young, when things were simple. This music convinces us that things are much less complicated than we make them. Despite the undertone of gloom, the band gives a sense of perpetual optimism, and can make anybody feel a little better. The casual, dream-like melodies and succinct, powerful lyrics make Write About Love an enjoyable album experience.

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