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Wednesday, July 09, 2008 

I'll maybe tell you all about it, someday



I don't like The Life Pursuit very much. Maybe it's because it's Belle & Sebastian's most 'classic rock' sounding album (that guitar solo on "Mornington Crescent," ugh!) or because the lyrics aren't as good (on the whole) as they used to be, or... I don't know, really. Dear Catastrophe Waitress and the fantastic Books EP marked the beginning of what I called at the time Belle & Sebastian Mk II, and although I deeply love Fold Your Hands, etc I was excited. But there's no "If She Wants Me" here, there's not even a "Stay Loose." There are some good songs on The Life Pursuit and a few great ones ("For the Price of a Cup of Tea"!), but ultimately too much of it feels hollow to me, something I never thought I'd say (I always thought they'd fuck up by being too much themselves, not by finally placing an emphasis on textures and sounding like old music). "Funny Little Frog" is one of the exceptions, mainly because it continues proudly in the tradition of relatively covertly devastating B&S songs, following on nicely from something like "I'm Waking Up to Us." In what way wasn't precisely clear to me until I saw the video, however.

In any case, after tonight's listen, I'm decided - I'm selling The Life Pursuit. They can't all be keepers.

I think DCW is one of the best things B&S have done, and at the time the stepped-up production and dance-friendliness were really welcome moves, but I feel like TLP took those elements to an unfortunate extreme: lots of hand-clapping fizziness without much charm.

That is an excellent way to put it. "Song For Sunshine" is about as soulless as I think (I hope) it's possible for B&S to get.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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