Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
Belle & Sebastian - 2015
‘Get funky with Belle & Sebastian!’ No, that’s not right. ‘It’s Sexy Time with Belle & Sebastian!’ Absolutely not. No one will buy that either. ‘Hit the Club with Belle & Sebastian!’? This review may have to go without a title.
Who knew that this aging troupe of Scottish balladeers had it in ‘em! For years they’ve given us music for the heart but Peacetime is designed for your feet. I wonder how it happened. Stuart runs into band practice with lace tissues falling from his sleeves; “Hiya Numpties! I’ve just written another acoustic song that will leave them aching but I think we should jazz it with heavy synths!”
Hardcore fans had only a couple of indications that the group would move in this new direction. The first is the fact our beloved leader loves to dance on stage. He spends most of his time praying of course but Stu never misses a chance to shake his booty. Perhaps he just wanted to pen a danceable album of his own!
The second hint came in the depressed espionage of ‘I Want the World to Stop’ on their last record Write About Love (2010). Will this new sound leave some fans pining for simpler times with Belle? You get the feeling that the group doesn’t especially care as they dive into these energized tracks.
Stuart delivers his most personal and realized song with the bright opener ‘Nobody’s Empire’. But it’s on ‘Allie’, “The Party Line’, ‘The Power of Three’ and the surprising ‘Enter Sylvia Plath’ that your toes start tapping and you’re nodding your head.
The ballads hear are first class as usual. ‘The Cat with the Cream’ and ‘Ever Had a Little Faith?’ once again confirm that Murdoch is the Prince of Twee.
All in all, this was an experiment for the Bellesters that worked extremely well. So, go listen to ‘The Party Line’ and don’t be afraid to get your groove back.
I might be back to pin an extra half star on this album. Perhaps I’ll have come up with a convincing title by then. I mean no one’s gonna believe ‘Report to the Dance Floor with Belle & Sebastian!’ until they hear this record!
Watch this space.C. Scott Back
C. Scott ranks this as the
#3 favorite album of 2015