Belle And Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
19 years, nine albums, and a problem: a venerable indie band that was in danger of falling into self-parody. While albums like If You’re Feeling Sinister and The Boy With The Arab Strap set the standard for indie pop in the 1990s, by 2010’s Belle And Sebastian Write About Love it seemed like they were simply putting in work. Solid work, it must be said, but still, it seemed as though Belle And Sebastian were a job more than a band. Five years between then and now, the band has reinvented itself radically. There is a much bigger focus on rhythm than there ever was on previous albums, to the point where tracks like “The Party Line”, “Enter Sylvia Plath”, and “Play For Today” fuse their particular songwriting style with indie-disco to make what for all intents and purposes is great dance music. In fact there are really only a couple of songs – most notably the sweet, string-laden “The Cat With The Cream” – that harken back to previous Belle And Sebastian records. It’s a different kind of album that still manages to hold its own in the band’s discography, a revolution in their sound, a Belle And Sebastian reboot. It works in exactly the same way that Tegan and Sara’s rather similar reboot didn’t; it layers on a slicker, dancier, more fun kind of sound, but it doesn’t sacrifice an iota of their integrity to do so.