53. Belle and Sebastian – “The Life Pursuit”

I’m a sucker for overly packaged CDs. Bonus tracks, an extra disc (be it CD or DVD), or a fancy booklet are sure to catch my eye in the visual chaos of your typical music bazaar.

belle-and-sebastian-the-life-pursuit-album-coverThis release delivers on three fronts- with a cardboard faux hardcover-book, extensive liner notes (including Q&A with the band) and a six track DVD performed live in a BBC studio. How can one not feel sated with such a smorgasbord of offerings?

Of course, these sundries are fleeting in their appeal and impact. The DVD gets one viewing. The Q&As are giggled at while watching the clips but forgotten. And the damn packaging becomes a nuisance as it hogs the CD rack. So inevitably we return to the actual music.

The tunes are hit and miss. The band has mastered the poppy up-tempo single, with White Collar Boy and Funny Little Frog showing out as go-to tracks. Alas the remainder of the album is rather forgettable slower numbers. Strangely, what was once the group’s core competency – the melancholy and dark ballad – has become their weak-spot. Their attempts on that front struggle here (except Act of the Apostle II). Anyway, time to move on for us…

File Under: Mutton dressed as lamb

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