It might be a surprise to discover that this tenth Belle & Sebastian album is the veterans’ first LP proper in over seven years. It feels as if they’ve never quite been away; they released a three-part suite of EPs, ‘How to Solve Our Human Problems’, and also soundtracked the Simon Bird-directed comedy Days of the Bagnold Summer. Still, we haven’t quite had anything resembling their traditional grab-bag since 2015’s ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’, and, despite the pandemic nixing plans to decamp to California to record it, ‘A Bit of Previous’ remains an enjoyably sunny listen, even if one frequently inflected with melancholy. That’s true on breezy opener ‘Young and Stupid’, and on the timely ode to defiance and conviction ‘If They’re Shooting at You’, as well the chirpy ‘Come On Home’. Elsewhere, Stevie Jackson chips in with his usual soulful reflection on ‘Deathbed of My Dreams’, while Sarah Martin rounds off the songwriting triumvirate with the synth-led ‘A World Without You’. It’s very much familiar territory for the Glasgow stalwarts - in fact, ‘If They’re Shooting at You’ is actually a partial rework of the 2018 single ‘Poor Boy’ - but when they’re serving up classical pop tracks this accomplished, it’s ground you’re delighted to hear them going back over.
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It follows the release of their album of the same name.
It’s out in May.
Kicking off early next year!
Watch the live video of ‘The Boy With The Arab Strap’ now.