Since Belle and Sebastian was one of my favourite acts of 2014 (as you can see below in my full year review, just use that indexfinger and scroll this screen down a bit), it is only appropriate to review their newest album, which officially launches next week (19-01-'15). Don't ask me how I got my hands on it.
Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance:
A lot has changed in the music as well, there are even some big Abba influences here, especially in the song 'Enter Sylvia Plath'. Whether this is a good thing or not completely depends on your Abba appreciation.
'The everlasting muse' is more like the earlier songs of Belle and Sebastian and would do well on a summer day on a festival (this is how I rate most music, based on festivalness, deal with it).
Even though the album seems to start off somewhat slowly, it seems like there is a buildup to more groovy songs, like 'Perfect Couples', which reminds me (in a very subtle way) of '80s disco/onehitwonders, for an album titled 'Girls in peacetime want to dance' I would expect more danceable music, but that might be an issue of getting used to the first few songs.
There seems to be an alternation between the more traditional Belle and Sebastian type songs and totally new experimental songs, which is a good thing. It keeps the old fans somewhat content in recognising the typical Belle and Sebastian style, while the different poplike songs could attract new people who were less into folk or indie.
'Play for today'is the perfect fusion of both the folk/indie style we have heard from Belle and Sebastian before, and their new electronic pop, as is 'The book of you', I recommend listening to these songs when you are in doubt of the new Belle and Sebastian ways. Some of the other songs are less fused like these two songs and take more time to get used to in my opinion.
With a new album comes a video of course! The first single 'Party Line' is a perfect choice to promote the album, and already shows the differences I have discussed, plus it suits the title of the album perfectly with it's dancable beat and the old style synthesizer, plus the video makes me want to go out and dance (note how the album cover models are in the video as well).
All in all: More pop, less folk, but reasonably danceable.
Belle and Sebastian are taking different roads, and that takes time to get used to, but once you have, get out and dance to it! After a second listen to it, I really liked it more, some of my favourites on the album are:
- Nobody's Empire (especially the lyrics 'someone sang a song and I sang along/ Cause I knew the words from my childhood/ intellect ambition they fell away/ and they locked me up for my own good' and the lyrics keep on being good in this song)
- Perfect Couple, for its typical Belle and Sebastian style with a completely new twist.