As an academic, and an empiricist, I have a strong tendency to seek out patterns in phenomena. Listening to this 4th outing from the Belle and Sebastian, two hypotheses bear pondering.
2. While there may be little relationship between the number of words in an album title and it’s quality (my top 10 includes a considerable range), perhaps titles of extreme length (>6 words?) are indicative of desperation on an act’s behalf.
My suspicion is that my Decline hypotheses only holds when firms refuse to adapt and therefore lose the ‘spark’ that once made them intriguing. We have, of course, already seen several acts who, through innovativeness, were reinvigorated.
B&S are treading a very fine line on this release. They are ‘burdened’ with a unique sound – a style requiring considerable concentration (by listeners) to discern nuance.
They are trying hard to mix it up. Female lead vocals add some diversity. Several tracks are poppier with Murdoch’s voice more prominent. Much is melancholic. All in all, it still doesn’t reach the heights of their debut, but is still a competent effort.
File under: Workman-like but not wow-worthy