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Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit




Belle and Sebastian have always floated in and out of my life, not for any particular reason, just something about them never quite stuck. Despite that, I have had a soft spot for their cutesy brand of pop – but small doses you know – anything larger and you might find yourself in some sort of Architecture in Helsinki style band, and that just ain't my style.

  
  

The thing about Belle and Sebastian, is that (assuming that you're into it) it's pretty comfortable. Sort of innovative, fun, experimental in a way without losing you. I've never had a problem with any of their albums, never thought "what on earth are they doing!" and thrown down my compact disc in a huff. It's with the same sort of contentment and love that I receive the Life Pursuit like some sort of body of Christ.

  
  

The opening track on The Life Pursuit, is surprisingly enjoyable considering I had already cringed and the first single title 'Funny Little Frog' I wasn't holding out much hope. The opening percussion, funked up piano and movie-credit chord progression put me at ease straight away.

  
  

Then bam, track two, and here I am listening to some amalgam of Bright Eyes and Arcade Fire, but done better! Somehow, the life and breath that I forgot this band had was back, right there, breathing down my neck. Melodies, harmonies, piano, guitars, something about Eskimos. I remember why I like this band. It's like every song is the perfect soundtrack for your road trip/break up/date/life.

  
  

'The Blues are Still Blues' is well, blues influenced, in that sort of glam rock, T –Rex way, more guts than the rest, then it dies down for 'Dress Up in You', as Stuart half hums, "I'm the singer/I'm the singer in the band/ You're the loser, I won't dismiss you out of hand."

  
  

And it just goes on, every song relentlessly making you smile, or dance, or kick up a fuss, but every one different. ‘Sukie in the Graveyard' is funk and gospel inspired with a kicking guitar solo, 'We Are Sleepy Heads' is something to dance to, 'Song For Sunshine' is almost dodgy disco, the single ‘Funny Little Frog' – you've probably heard – it's brassy and it's old school. I could go on, but I'd have to review every track individually to do the album justice, and truly, I don't have the time or space.

  
  

Instead I'll leave you with this…

  
  

Over the years my best friend has given me lots of nice hang made gifts, letters and cards. Hand-made books, hand painted gift tags, feathers glued to cards and the like. Unlike a CD or even a nice book, I treasure these little gifts. I may only look at them once, then I hide them away in a box or a drawer. Then, every now and then I rediscover this treasure trove of fashioned gifts. I read every card, and treasure every word she wrote. Every gift a new proclamation.

  
  

This is what Belle and Sebastian feels like to me. Every song is self contained. Fragile or sturdy depending on your mood, life affirming and something to be treasured. But keep it tucked away, or you'll lose the magic.

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