Belle and Sebastian
The Life Pursuit


3.5
great

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
March 1st, 2006 | 32 replies | 10,465 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Belle and Sebastian return after their 2003 release of Dear Catastrophe Waitress. After two somewhat average releases in the earlier half of the decade, Dear Catastrophe Waitress was Belle & Sebastian's proof that they still had it in them to make a great record. Highly anticipated, The Life Pursuit is the first Belle & Sebastian record since their 2003 return to form.

Belle and Sebastian
Bobby - Bass
Chris - Keyboards
Mick - Trumpet
Richard - Drums
Sarah - Violin, Vocals
Stevie - Guitar
Stuart - Vocals, Guitar

Since their comeback in 2003, things have been good for Belle & Sebastian. Dear Catastrophe Waitress, while it was a comeback for the band, it was also a major change in sound. Since The Life Pursuit is the first album since the band's comeback, fans, naturally had a lot of questions prior to the record's release. Would it be a continuation of the sounds of Dear Catastrophe Waitress? Would it be more like their masterpiece, If You're Feeling Sinister? Or would it be a completely different sound altogether? Interestingly enough, the answer is that it's a combination of all three.

From the first few seconds of the album, it's obvious that The Life Pursuit is not a carbon copy of the band's earlier work. The band use an increased amount of synthesisers and electronics and that hint of 60s pop that has always lurked in their music is now in full swing. The sounds of Dear Catastrophe Waitress are an obvious and prevalent aspect of The Life Pursuit. However, the album also has some strong ties to the earlier period of Tigermilk If You're Feeling Sinister. There are a few soft folk songs that wouldn't be out of place on either of the band's first two records ("Dress Up In You", "Mornington Crescent"), as well as the occasional horn solo. In addition to this, a number of new influences have creeped into the band's music. The aforementioned electronic sounds make appearances throughout along with jazzy instrumentation, a blues rock song ("The Blues are Still Blue") and even the occasional glam rock guitar solo ("Sukie In The Graveyard"). In regular Belle & Sebastian fashion, Stuart Murdoch's lyrics are witty, articulate and wordy, creating for some enjoyable songs. The Life Pursuit also contains a large amount of tracks with surprisingly few duds.

The sound of The Life Pursuit doesn't come off as a radical departure for Belle & Sebastian, or even a new direction. Instead, the album feels like more of a logical continuation of the direction of Dear Catastrophe Waitress. At the same time, The Life Pursuit throws in a decent enough measure of the band's earlier sound and a good mix of new ideas. In the end, The Life Pursuit is Belle & Sebastian's proof that a band can change and go in new directions without abandoning what made them so great in the first place. For fans of If You're Feeling Sinister and Tigermilk, Belle & Sebastian's new record may not be exactly what they hoped for. However, if given and chance time to grow on the listener, The Life Pursuit will take it's place among Belle & Sebastian's best records.

Pros
- Fun, smart, witty and articulate
- Enjoyable new ideas
- Replay value

Cons
- Fans of earlier material may find it difficult
- A couple of weaker tracks

Reccomended Tracks
Act of the Apostle
Dress up in You
For The Price of a Cup of Tea

FINAL RATING: 3.5/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
br3ad_man
Emeritus
March 1st 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is the first review I've written in quite a while, so I apologise if it's not up to scratch.

Zebra
Moderator
March 1st 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with the rating. This is a great album with some excellent tracks. It might not match up to 'Arab Strap' or 'Catastrophe Waitress' but it's still a great album.

Scott Herren
March 1st 2006



192 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I can't get into this album yet. I think Jom is confusing Iron and Wine with Belle and Sebastian.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
March 1st 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sounds like it.

I hated this album at first. I like it now, but the songs still aren't as good as the early stuff.

Neoteric
March 1st 2006



3243 Comments


Hey mr. br3ad. Haven't seen you around these parts in ages.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
March 2nd 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Did you miss me? I'm back anyway.

Iai
Emeritus
March 2nd 2006



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I only just heard B&S for the first time this week, and....I don't know. Underwhelmed would be the word. But I have this and I'll give it a go anyway.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
March 3rd 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think most would agree that this isn't their best.

Zmev
March 3rd 2006



983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

http://www.musicianforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11585084&postcount=6

br3ad_man
Emeritus
March 3rd 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Meh, I disagree. Comparisons are inevitable.

Iai
Emeritus
March 9th 2006



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Just heard this, and it destroys The Boy With The Arab Strap, which is the album I was talking about when I said they were underwhelming. It sits at #2 of the year so far for me.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
March 10th 2006



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And number 1?

Zmev
March 19th 2006



983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off


Meh, I disagree. Comparisons are inevitable.


MehThis Message Edited On 03.19.06

AbysmalFace
April 4th 2006



35 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's around #5 of the year for me.
I think Stevie sings on one or two of these songs?...

sadisticmonkey
April 12th 2006



107 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well, since this was the first belle and sebastian cd i ever listened to, i got to listen to it without knowing their past...

that aside, this cd gets a five!

Highlights
Sukie In The Graveyard
We Are The Sleepyheads
Dress Up In You
For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea

Sep
May 7th 2006



297 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review. I never really listen to this album the whole way through but individually most of the tracks are good. Especially Dress Up In You.

Med57
Moderator
May 7th 2006



1001 Comments


This is kind of an average Belle & Sebastien record in my opinion. Probably better than some of their recent releases, but it's not something that I'm going to replay loads.

FA
May 30th 2006



127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually enjoyed this album, it's fantastic. Nicely written review.

MrKite
April 27th 2007



5020 Comments


I've heard a few tracks by these guys and was left unimpressed.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
April 27th 2007



4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

booooooooo. I was going to comment saying this is an underrated album but you stole my thunder.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again



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