Belle & Sebastian - How to Solve our Human Problems (Part 1)

Belle & Sebastian
How to Solve our Human Problems (Part 1) EP

If you are looking for the gooey center of hipsterdom it's Belle & Sebastian. Sweet Twee songs with the gentlest of touches they have always sounded like a perfectly painted picture of tranquility. They don't rock the boat but their music is endearing because you just don't hear anything like this anymore. It feels like something ripped from the sixties, but with all the production and lessons of 2017. I'm not talking about Hendrix or Dylan though, this is the bands you probably never heard of because their music didn't cut through the noise. This EP How to Solve our Human Probelms (pt. 1)  one of three EPs incoming from the band is far more dancey than anything they have done before. Disco bleeds through with skittering drum beats and surprises like a slide guitar on "We Were Beautiful". They are far less delicate on this album and seem to have more of a punch in them than ever before. Perhaps the recent political upheaval has inspired the b Glasgow natives as they take much more of a political stand than they ever have before. Usually their music and lyrics feel like a French fairy tale or something but here they language is much more plain and relatable. There are times though where they can't get out of their own way, again on "We Were Beautiful" they add these little flourishes that feel so unnecessary and annoying when the song is already cooking along. Their indulgent songs lengths are also ridiculous with nothing coming in under four minutes, not even the final instrumental track.

"The Girl Doesn't Get It" is a really great example of this. It blazes along at first cooking with this really fun and bright beat backed up by a wave of synths, but then it goes on and on and on. By the time is over you are so sick of it there is no chance you can go back and listen to it again. Then just to add insult to injury they fade the song out. Of course the last track, the instrumental, has a heavy dose of flute in it, also: THERE ARE FUCKING LYRICS SO HOW IS IT AN INSTRUMENTAL?!?! As I'm writing this I'm just thinking "they almost got me, they almost had me thinking I was about to like Belle & Sebastian" but they can't get out of their own way, they can't edit themselves and they can't let a beat go if it's decent, they have to play it into infinity until you're finally sick of it. They are trying everything on this record to prove their place in the modern pop world, but in doing so it makes them look even older and more dated than they already are. Step 1 is over, but buckle up folks we ahve two more of these coming our way...sigh...

5.2 out of 10


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