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The Life Pursuit (Bonus Tracks)

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Album Review

Proving that the comeback of 2003's Dear Catastrophe Waitress was no fluke, Belle & Sebastian's sixth full-length album, The Life Pursuit, is a sleek, stylish affair that finds the group quietly pursuing new ground without forsaking its trademark witty, literary, tuneful pop. In retrospect, Dear Catastrophe Waitress wasn't so much a comeback as a restart, finding Stuart Murdoch reasserting himself as the group's undisputed leader in the wake of the departure of Stuart David and Isobel Campbell, but equally as important was the presence of superstar producer Trevor Horn, who didn't gloss up B&S as much as gave them focus and direction, along with a greater musical palette. The Life Pursuit is the logical next step forward, retaining Murdoch's signature wry vignettes but dressing them in new sonic colors. Although their collaboration with Horn started Belle & Sebastian on this path, he has been replaced with producer Tony Hoffer, best known for his work on Beck's Guero, Air's 10,000 Hz Legend, and Supergrass' Life on Other Planets. On each of those records, Hoffer was able to retain the artist's core identity while expanding their musical horizons, and that's the case with The Life Pursuit. Here, Belle & Sebastian dabble in glam rock, lazy lounge jazz, and ersatz blues, enhancing their swinging '60s pop fixation with horn charts, the occasional flute, and Motown rhythms, while even rocking harder than ever before (but that's on a relative scale, of course). This results in a fresh, lively listen, but a rich one too, since there's more to hear in the music as well as the words upon repeated listens. It's not a radical departure for Belle & Sebastian — there are several intimate, folky numbers that would comfortably fit on their previous records. But having these tunes surrounded by songs that successfully stretch the group's sound gives The Life Pursuit an unexpected, wholly welcome vitality that not only produces a satisfying album, but suggests that a decade removed from their masterwork, If You're Feeling Sinister, Belle & Sebastian have managed to find a way to grow without changing their identity. [The Life Pursuit was also released in a deluxe edition containing a DVD featuring live performances of Belle & Sebastian on the BBC.]

Customer Reviews

Summer has been looking for this album

Belle and Sebastian have brought an album that will have you skipping through fields of clover, under blue skys while you imagine yourself in Scotland surrounded by cute fluffy sheep. This album has every element of the perfect summer all wrapped in one. Upbeat songs, which is pretty much every song, like "For the Price of a Cup of Tea" or "We are the Sleepyheads" will get anybody moving while slower tunes like"Song for Sunshine" or "Act of the Apostle" just make you feel good. Note this is an album for a happy times, put this in at the wrong time and you will want to beat the stereo, these are fun, up songs not meant for brooding, crying or screaming to.

The one that you want

Absolutely fell in love with this album from day one. If you purchase only one album this year make it this one, it is worth every penny. By far the best album they have put together and is great to put on in the background when entertaining. Love it, Love it, Love it.

Awesome Album

Amazing Album. Very catchy. The best tracks are White Collar Boy, The blues are still blue, Dress up in you, Song for Sunshine, To Be Myself Completely and For the Price of a Cup of Tea. Buy this.

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A band that takes its name from a French children's television series about a boy and his dog would almost have to be precious, and to be sure, Belle & Sebastian are precious. But precious can be a damning word, and Belle & Sebastian don't have the negative qualities that the word connotes: they are private but not insular, pretty but not wimpy; they make gorgeous, delicate melodies sound full-bodied. Led by guitarist/vocalist Stuart Murdoch, the seven-piece band has an intimate, majestic sound that...
Full bio

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