Belle and Sebastian | Write About Love

Matador (2010)
By JONATHAN DONALDSON  |  October 12, 2010
3.5 3.5 Stars

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As the obviousness of Write About Love's title implies (it could have been called Play and Sing!), Belle & Sebastian are looking to get back to basics with their first album since 2005's tremendous The Life Pursuit. The end product is near perfect. On most tracks, bobbing bass and nimble percussion create a funky pop backdrop for lean guitars and organs to karate-chop their way through songs as elemental as cinder blocks. "Come On Sister" has the bop and swagger of an ancient Belle & Sebastian demo. No trumpets, no string sections, no grand vocal schemes get in the way. (The vocals here are mostly limited to tight trade-offs between Stuart Murdoch and ugly-duckling-turned-swan Sarah Martin.) "I Didn't See It Coming" re-creates the teenage consummation of your love affair with music; the eyeliner spookiness of "I Want the World To Stop" is a readymade Bond theme, and why not? "Sunday's Pretty Icons" breaks it down with a two-chord sing-along of "Every girl you've ever admired/Every boy you've ever desired." And "I'm Not Living in the Real World" is true acid bubblegum — Howard Jones meets Tommy Roe's "Dizzy." We even get one of those knife-in-the-heart Murdoch ballads, the fragile "Read the Blessed Pages" (complete with a bizarre Switched on Bach interlude). So why on earth would Belle & Sebastian choose to duet with Norah Jones on "Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John"? Kenny G is a smooth talent, but that doesn't mean he should play on a Flaming Lips record. This Captain & Tennille moment aside, Write About Love is near perfection.

BELLE & SEBASTIAN + DEAN WAREHAM | Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St, Boston | October 15 at 8 pm | $35-$49.50 | 617.482.9393 or citicenter.org

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Norah Jones, Belle and Sebastian,  More more >
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