Review Summary: “Sunshine, we all see the same sky . . ."
Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
Review by Clumpy
Upon my first listen of Belle and Sebastian's "The Pursuit of The Good Life", my first question, unspoken yet clearly poised, was this: How can an album be so hummable, so thoroughly agreeable and yet so OH NO THE BUGS ARE BACK GOING INTO MY FACE INTO MY EYESOCKETS OH NO GET THEM OFF ME PLEASSSSSSEEEEEE
Sorry about that.
All raving madness aside, "The Life Pursuit" is a mighty fine record: the sort of melodic, nirvanic album that reaches toward such lofty heights of poppy perfection that it manages to remain a quality, breezy record while achieving near-universal appeal. The occasional strong language might keep it out of the young’uns hands, but everybody else is in for a great time.
Nearly every song on this album sounds like it was written by messengers on high to be lullabies for drowsy cherubs. How else can you explain the breezy, classy chops of opener "Act of the Apostle", impossibly-catchy and joyful tones of "Another Sunny Day" or "The Blues Are Still Blue", or carefree glee of "We Are the Sleepyheads"? Much like the earlier work of The Shins, this is an album to make you happy. It just sounds right. It's a pop masterpiece that only drags a little, near the end (as most albums do), but never enough to annoy.
The vocals on this record sound a little like a higher-energy Sufjan Stevens, but they have their own curious vulnerability to them, providing the little stories and anecdotes described in the song’s lyrics with a charming depth.
Instrumentally, the album is full of rollicking guitar and bass riffs, feel-good chimes and unending bouncy energy. The songs progress in a nice, original fashion, always placing a guitar solo or bridge right where one seems appropriate.
This album showcases the best work of budding maestros who write in a classic pop style, subtly taking the best bits of varied styles into a nifty stew all their own. The vocals are carefree and perfect, every song vibrates with happy energy (even the darker bits), and everything goes down smooth. Why, even a record reviewer plagued with occasional writer's block would be hard-pressed to find themselves at a loss for words to describe this magic, magic album!
This is unpretentious, grand indie pop music. If you can handle that sort of thing, pick up this album. I don't think you'll be sorry. Though my thinking apparatus has apparently gone completely haywire, I recommend this record nearly without reservation. Play it for your family. Just be ready with the 'mute' button.
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