Belle & Sebastian - Write About Love (2010)

on Saturday, 6 November 2010
Any band that has made as big an impression as Belle & Sebastian did when they hit the scene all those many years ago is bound to meet with mixed reactions by the time they reach their seventh studio album (I'm excluding compilations and soundtracks here). Generally the reception will be frosty with no real basis, quick conclusions that the album is poor after little more than half a listen. So called "real fans" will complain that it's not a replica of Sinister but then if they were "real fans" wouldn't they like everything the band did? One for those elitists to ponder over.

The truth is that if anything, this album is closer in sound to Sinister than anything they've done in a while, yes it's shinier and many of the songs are "jauntier" but in comparison to The Life Pursuit, an album that disappointed many but in time grew in to a real winner, there are a number of slow simple songs, such as Calculating Bimbo that could easily have been taken from an early Belle and Sebastian release.

Whereas you may long for another Sinister, the truth is that Belle & Sebastian aren't going to be the band that do that, someone else will come along and create something that causes such a stir, instead we should see the progress and the fact that so many albums in the band are still making great pop songs albeit with the controversial assistance of Norah Jones! Arguably the whole album isn't incredible but in a generation where there are so many albums available and so many ways to get hold of them, this album deserves your attention, like back in the day when you'd buy the album the day it was released and listen to nothing else for weeks on end until you could recite every word.

Stand out tracks are the excellent Come on Sister which along with the opening I Didn't See It Coming showcases a more prominent keyboard presence and some fantastic backing and choppy guitars, without doubt one of their finer moments, though of course Belle and Sebastian are not short of such. I Want the World to Stop is reminiscent of Waiting For The Moon to Rise but on a better budget with a bassline that makes it dance floor friendly and begs to be remixed. The string of songs, Write About Love, I'm Not Living in the Real World and The Ghost of Rockschool are particular highlights, Write About Love is lyrically brilliant and the guest vocals of Carey Mulligan are a polite reminder that despite what we all expected, they've never really looked back since the departure of Isobel Campbell. I'm Not Living in the Real World is not typical B&S but is a triumphant two and half minutes of call and response ba-ba-ba, oooo-weeee-oooo pop brilliance that will seemingly never grow boring. The Ghost of Rockschool finishes the trio nicely, effortless in sound, casually brilliant, the classy guitar licks and bass line are the icing on the cake as this builds and builds into yet another brilliant track.

The closing brace of I Can See Your Future and Sundays Pretty Icons are a lovely pair of tracks that are so catchy and yet i think they'll take a few plays before you actually realise how good they are.

All in all, a very good album from one of my favourite bands of the last two decades, despite what some will say. Give Write About Love a chance, you might be surprised, even the Norah Jones song is pretty good if you can look past the initial concept.

Belle and Sebastian - I Want The World to Stop Source: Draw Us Lines
Belle and Sebastian - I Didn't See it Coming Source: Whale in a Cubicle
Belle and Sebastian - The Ghost of Rockschool Source: Whale in a Cubicle
Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love Source: Planeta Pop
Belle and Sebastian - Come on Sister Source: The Glorius Hum