Belle And Sebastian return with their first studio album in five years, the follow-up to Belle And Sebastian Write About Love. With Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance the kings and queen of Scottish indie pop are back with a bang. It opens with what Stuart Murdoch has described as his most personal song, ‘Nobody’s Empire’ and features that trademark Belle And Sebastian sound.
However, Murdoch’s lyrics are loaded with a deeper meaning, it’s a particularly heartfelt track. Despite the jauntiness the lyrics describe something altogether different, it seems an odd way to start an album, with such a deeply personal track, but in another sense our interest is piqued from the outset. Whichever way we look at it, it’s a brilliant track, and it is bound to become a firm fan favourite.
They follow up with the politically charged ‘Allie’ again with their trademark jaunty indie pop to back it up. This brightness is short lived though, the band have mentioned how they’ve been heavily influenced by Detroit techno and Giorgio Moroder in the production and recording of the album.
‘The Power Of Three’ is a true hark back to the disco era, with its soft synths and echoed vocals. It’s a departure from what you would typically expect from Belle And Sebastian yet it’s a welcome change. This theme runs through a number of tracks, ‘Enter Sylvia Plath’ would not be out of place on any disco dancefloor.
For an album which opens with such a beautiful and heartfelt song, by the mid-point it has reached somewhere completely different. In many senses this isn’t a bad thing, but for those expecting a straightforward album, this isn’t the album you’ll be expecting. ‘Perfect Couples’ sees the band embellish a sound that is not that different to Giorgio Moroder, his aforementioned influence runs so strongly throughout the record.
Yet, the latter part of the album sees them regain their indie pop charm. There are still elements of the experimentation which is prominent throughout the middle of the record hanging around, however it’s a lot less in your face and the tracks are more recognisable. That said, a band cannot stand still and whilst this may not be the record that many were expecting, it stands up on its own merits as musically it is an excellent album with a number of future classic tracks.