Belle & Sebastian, that notorious Glasgow seven-piece that once sang about Bible studies and S&M with equal gusto, spent its last album daydreaming about escape. Helmed by LA megaproducer Tony Hoffer, The Life Pursuit featured cathedral bells, Damascus roads, and harmonies rising like spires in the sunset. God and music were the tickets out of a dull existence, and the band riffed and belted about both, determined to save its bored souls through sheer force.
But skyscrapers, not steeples, crowd the horizon of the band’s latest album, Write About Love. Also produced by Hoffer, Love is set in the midst of a bustling, 9-5 workday world. On opener “I Didn’t See It Coming,” sometime vocalist Sarah Martin turns the lyric Money makes the wheels of the world go round into an incantation. On the title track, actress Carey Mulligan croons I hate my job, I’m working way too much. Like the workweek it chronicles, Love unfurls in repetitive — albeit exuberant — hooks. Gorgeous single “I Want the World to Stop” carries some of Stuart Murdoch & Co.’s trademark nostalgia with their call-and-response repetition of the titular line.
While peppered with wistful moments, Love is about as exciting as the time-card-punching day it chronicles. Daydreaming was much more fun. (Matador)