Could there be anything sweeter than a story about a six-year-old French boy named Sébastien and his best dog friend Belle? Well, you guys, there is. Glasgow-based seven-piece Belle and Sebastian and their sweet indie pop music. Named after the children’s book, their music definitely leans on the “twee” side*. But, saying that, their latest album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance shows they also know how to make a pretty mean party tune.
Belle and Sebastian’s Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance sees the band masterfully blend their unique indie pop with fresh electro grooves.
Once upon a time, Stuart Murdoch wanted to make whimsical bedroom pop. Almost 20 years later and seven band members in, Belle and Sebastian are now all grown up and onto album number nine. True to their storybook roots, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance rummages through the dress up box and plays with indie pop. But, journeying to Atlanta to record with Animal Collective and Deerhunter producer Ben Allen, this one’s set in a land far more electronic than ever before.
Beginning in familiar sonic territory, opening track Nobody’s Empire tells the tale of Murdoch’s seven-year struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sure to satisfy twee-lovers the world over, its slow pulsing rhythm swells into a warm and fuzzy harmonic embrace. Lead single The Party Line then kicks the album into a full-blown rave. A story about young love blossoming under the strobes, it cuts a rug with swinging drum beats, grooving bass lines and disco ball synths.
Taking it down a notch, The Cat with the Cream strays into political territory. A dreamy melody floats some serious ideas about how “Men in frocks debate all the policy changes”, and lets you sit in wonder while the soaring strings mellow. Swinging back into party mode, Enter Sylvia Plath pulls out the sequins and glitter. A seven-minute electro-pop explosion, it sounds like something from Eurovision. Murdoch and Martin’s vocals ride a euphoric wave of sparkly synths, making it the most danceable track the band have put out yet. But, rest assured twee- lovers, sweet little folk tune Ever Had a Little Faith? complete with Murdoch’s whispers and pitter-pattering drums will make you feel right at home again.
Playing with their classic indie pop sound and new electro grooves, this album is definitely a mixed bag of sweet treats. Whilst the sugary tunes may be a little sour for some, lovers of everything daydreamy will no doubt be all over Belle and Sebastian’s latest chapter of whimsical storybook pop.
*You’re walking a fine fine line with Ed.
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