Belle & Sebastian - How To Solve Our Human Problems EP

by Jeff Penczak Rating:5 Release Date:2017-12-08

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their last triple EP set (Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Jane, and 3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light)), the Scottish quartet release the first part of a new triple EP set, all trading under the above umbrella title. The second disc is due in January, the final set follows in February, and a convoluted collection of all three on both a compilation CD or vinyl box set or a box for just Volume 3 (in case you already purchased the first two parts) is planned to hold everything together next Spring. Somehow, I guess it will all be worked out.

For now, Part 1: ‘Sweet Dew Lee’ starts hesitatingly, then Stuart Murdoch effects a Shane McGowan-as-lounge-singer sashay into the room. The band chimes in and we’re off and running for a gentle, jazzy, soft shoe shuffle across the dance floor. ‘We Were Beautiful’ has been out and about for a while so you know the band have decided to continue their move into New Order dance territory and hopes they would return to the brilliance of Write About Love are dashed. It’s also interminably too long.

‘Fickle Season’ is another disappointment, mainly because the unidentified vocalist (Sarah Martin?) is a tad off key. ‘The Girl Doesn’t Get It’ is a rousing return to form, a bouncy pop confection full of energy and earwig melody that reminds us why a new Belle & Sebastian release is usually a cause for celebration. We end with the instrumental ‘Everything Is Now’, a rather dull tosser with a groovy organ solo and little else to warrant repeat listens.

I hope their future solutions are better than these opening salvos. Their hearts just don’t seem to be in these offerings.

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