September 8, 2010

Song Review: Belle and Sebastian's "Write About Love"


Twee-pop innovators, Belle and Sebastian, return this autumn with their 8th studio effort, Belle and Sebastian Write About Love. The soft-spoken Glasgow band has had a consistent run throughout their career, rarely straying from their signature mellow pop sound until 2006's The Life Pursuit. That album saw Belle and Sebastian weaving a toned down version of glam rock into their otherwise melancholy music with pleasantly sunny results. The first single off Belle and Sebastian Write About Love is also the album's title track. It backtracks just a few steps away from the style of The Life Pursuit and again toward that classic Belle and Sebastian sound. Since the departure of  Isobel Campbell in 2002, Belle and Sebastian has lacked the delicate female counterpart to Stuart Murdoch's featherlight lead vocals. On "Write About Love," the indie poppers resolve this issue with a guest vocals appearance from Academy Award nominee, Carey Mulligan. Mulligan proves herself to be just as talented in the recording studio as she is on the silver screen, but it's worth noting that her exchange with Murdoch seems strikingly similar to something you would hear in a tune from The New Pornographers a la Carl Newman and Neko Case. As for the music, Belle and Sebastian continue exploring various persuasions of '60s-esque pop in modernized form. "Write About Love" is sugar sweet in upbeat textures of jangly guitars, horns, orchestrations, boy-girl harmonies and call and response choruses. This isn't something new being brought into the fray nor is there an exceeding amount of energy capable of bringing all the kids out onto the dance floor (Then again, Belle and Sebastian have always been something you would find yourself tapping your foot to in the morning while browsing through the daily news and enjoying your first cup of coffee.) As a first official single, "Write About Love" is a somewhat underwhelming introduction to their forthcoming album. It isn't anywhere near being one of the more memorable songs from these Scotsmen' vast catalog, but it also isn't entirely dismissible. Here's hoping the rest of Belle and Sebastian Write About Love is a bit more spirited and adventurous, otherwise we may have to trudge through a round of melancholy transition before we find Belle and Sebastian at their most delightful.

Belle and Sebastian - "Write About Love"

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