NEW ALBUM: BELLE AND SEBASTIAN | A BIT OF PREVIOUS
Belle and Sebastian have released their new album, entitled "A Bit of Previous," a slight nod to Stuart Murdoch’s belief in reincarnation; it is their ninth studio album and their first released in 7 years. Due to the pandemic, they were forced to forgo a trip to the states, and so this is the first one that they recorded in Glasgow since their 1999 release, "Fold Your Hands Child." It afforded them the leisure to enjoy and relish the process, and the songs on this album deal, more than on any other album, with the theme of aging. An exciting turn because Belle and Sebastian have always been a band who champions the youth. But their love for the young is still there, to be sure. Like in the fiddle-laden opener, “Young and Stupid,” whose melodies recall some of their earlier work. Or the jazzy “Come On Home,” where they deal with youth and age in one go. Like much of their previous work, they know how to sing about love so that it doesn’t make you cringe but smile with surprise and create eternally re-playable music. There’s not a dud in the bunch. It is a record that could appeal to all ages, with its timeless music drawing so much from the pantheon of music before them. Even with its sobering moments, like “Sea of Sorrow” or the becoming-age-appropriate “Deathbed of My Dreams.” Heading into their third decade as a band, Belle and Sebastian’s self-aware embrace of their status as both elder statespeople of indie rock and a burgeoning legacy act is just as endearing as their self-consciousness about their rise to fame on early songs like “Seymour Stein” and “This Is Just a Modern Rock Song.” And "A Bit of Previous" manages to balance celebrating the group’s familiar sound and proving that they still have something to say.