Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

More commanding and yet welcoming at the same time this could well be Belle and Sebastian’s introductory album for a lot of people.

Stop the press. Belle and Sebastian have been on Top Of The Pops. Twice. It seems a far cry from the docile band of, whisper it, meek indie offspring that initially cultivated such a clandestine following. Previous release ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’ saw Trevor Horn’s production skills extracting a much richer sound, whilst he may not be on board for this album his teachings are still being utilised. A fresh Belle and Sebastian offering generally only generates interest from the Bowlie community and not much wider a field, yet ‘The Life Pursuit’ seems to have bucked that tendency. Could this be the album which sees, probably the country’s best known unknown band, break through to the mainstream?

They might not be akin to the 12 disciples but from the opening strains of The Temptations friendly ‘Act of Apostle Part 1’ it’s clear that B&S have made a progressive pilgrimage on their way from their debut to this their seventh album. Though previous incarnations have not been discarded, ‘Song For Sunshine’ is more ‘Fold Your Hands Child’ era B&S but tangible are the developments which have occurred since that manifestation, oozing confidence and self assurance pausing before choruses which are so wistfully drenched in tranquillity it’s contagious, swelling to a close.

Lead single ‘Funny Little Frog’’s Northern Soul leaning sees their more playful side waltzing to the fore, the electro funk of ‘Sukie In The Graveyard’ and the harsh darting electro opener, united with the ragtime swing ambience, on ‘White Collar Boy’ bring about more of a glam rock presence epitomised by the positively Bolan-esque ‘The Blues Are Still Blue’.

Stevie Jackson steps in with more of a country lilt through ‘To Be Myself Completely’ with its piano underpinning and nod inducing drumming and the choral like singing of ‘For The Price Of A Cup Of A Tea’ turning the track into an occasion. The blissfully tranquil melody on ‘Another Sunny Day’ captures the mood of a sun-drenched July day while ‘Mornington Crescent’ is a delicately bucolic way to sign off.

More of a complete album band with contributions split produces a collection which sounds full with nostalgic overtones filtering throughout ‘The Life Pursuit’ is defiantly Belle and Sebastian but different superbly so; more commanding and yet welcoming at the same time this could well be Belle and Sebastian’s introductory album for a lot of people.

Tags: Belle and Sebastian, Reviews, Album Reviews

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