Album Review: Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’

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Album Review: Belle and Sebastian’s ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’

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The Scottish pop band Belle and Sebastian bring something that the band has experimented with in the past with “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance.” As the title of the album suggests, the LP is filled with different dance tracks that will attract a newer audience for the band and catch a few of their older fans off guard.

Similar to songs such as “If you find yourself caught in love” and a few synth tracks found on their first record “Tigermilk,” Belle and Sebastian bring some of their catchiest dance tracks on this new LP. The album goes through one of lead vocalist Stuart Murdoch’s personas, taking place in the mind of an imaginary 15-year-old girl in the ’50s as referenced in the song “Allie.”

Though the band has stuck with its flute and guitar heavy tracks from the past that ranged from quiet pop tracks to catchy folk tunes, the new album signifies a change in the band as they attempt to gather new fans.

Each track on the LP is well crafted and still holds much of the charm that Belle and Sebastian has had over the years. Murdoch still has his moments throughout, and there’s a callback to their older material in “Ever Had a Little Faith.”

The album really shines in areas that include other band members this time around. Songs such as “Perfect Couples” show how the band has kept their ability to collaborate and produce excellent music even when Murdoch isn’t the lead singer.

While different from past efforts, the LP is up to the caliber of their other critically acclaimed albums: “If You’re Feeling Sinister” and “The Boy with The Arab Strap.”

I found the album to be enjoyable to listen to even though it wanders astray from their previous works. While Belle and Sebastian has always been a band that has been able to create catchy melodies with a consistent sound that’s always familiar, “Girls in Peacetime…” brings a sound that’s fresh and appealing.

Even though it’s a newer sound, the album itself doesn’t sound like an experiment. The band sounds confident and comfortable with their new instruments, and the production on tracks such as “The Book of You” is just downright impressive. It’s nice to see the band trying something fresh, and hopefully they will continue to work with newer sounds.

You can find the entire album streaming on NPR’s “First Listen” before the album drops on the 20th in North America here: http://www.npr.org/2015/01/11/376089901/first-listen-belle-and-sebastian-girls-in-peacetime-want-to-dance