Belle and Sebastian are a baroque pop group from Scotland. Simple as that. They have released a plethora of music during their going on fifteen year existence. I personally got hooked on them through the Juno soundtrack a few years ago and I just can’t stop listening to the soothing melodies of the group. In 2006 the band put out what some thought was their last studio effort “The Life Pursuit” then they all went their separate ways.
Yet four years later they put out their next effort in the genre and continue to amaze listeners and woo them. “Belle and Sebastian Write About Love” or “Write About Love” in short is a splendid follow up to former B+S albums and it doesn’t lose the feel that you would get from their other works. Loaded with guest appearances from actress Carey Mulligan to pop singer Norah Jones this album is ripe with romantic conquest.
From the opening beats of “I Didn’t See It Coming” you can tell that B+S have emerged victorious and just managed to strengthen their already strong sound. The good thing about having both a male and female vocalists is the different ways you can write. This song features the more female vocals as a prominent sound. This is a new thing for B+S. “Come On Sister” follows the pursuit and reminds you of previous B+S songs from previous albums. It feels like “Like Dylan in the Movies” with the upbeat tempo and the happy sound the lyrics bring to you.
They provide a nice romantic soundtrack for an evening with your lover while bringing a popier side of their library. As the catchy chorus from “Come on Sister” closes out and moves on to the next track, “Calculating Bimbo”, one can get the feeling that Murdoch has mastered the art of storytelling via lyrics. “Calculating Bimbo” starts off slow, something B+S can do easily by moving from a faster more upbeat song to a quieter more intimate track. The mellow vibe moves into a toe tapper called “I Want the World To Stop” which is a favorite track from the album of mine. Murdoch gets the accompanied backing vocals from the rest of the group in this song. With simple lyrics and a catchy chorus the song has the potential to stay in your head for a while.
The following track has Norah Jones trying to channel something that isn’t Norah Jones but she ends up doing it anyway. The track is called “Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John” and features a bleak lyrical style. While this song maintains an upbeat yet downtrodden sound it still is a strong track on an already impressive album.
The next track was the debut single featuring actress Carey Mulligan’s vocals. “Write About Love” is an upbeat track that is typical under three minutes pop music for the gang. While Murdoch croons about love as usual and how everyone should write about it. With the chorus being something that can get stuck in your head as he beckons listeners to: “write about love/it can be in any form…” Mulligan’s vocals blend in perfectly and yet it still sounds different than the others in the track.
Murdoch will follow up the song with some somber pop such as “I’m Not Living in the Real World” and “The Ghost of Rockschool” these songs maintain typical B+S style, a pop feel while maintaining a story of sorts. The somber mood moves on through “Read The Bleeded Pages” as Stuart Murdoch quietly sings the lyrics he wrote. The albums final two tracks offer a nice wrap up to a strong album.
Belle and Sebastian Write About Love has the potential for album of the year material from some people such as myself, I give this album a 9.6 out of a possible score of 10. This is definitely a must listen for fans of the band as well as new listeners.