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Belle And Sebastian — How To Solve Our Human Problems, Pt. 2 (EP)

Belle And Sebastian — How To Solve Our Human Problems, Pt. 2 (EP) (Jan. 19th, 2018)

 Belle And Sebastian — How To Solve Our Human Problems, Pt. 2 (EP) Belle And Sebastian — How To Solve Our Human Problems, Pt. 2 (EP) (Jan. 19th, 2018)Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Indie Pop, Indie Rock
Styles: Alternative~Chamber Pop, Alternative Singer~Songwriter, Twee Pop, Alternative Pop/Rock
Album release: January 19th, 2018
Record Label: Matador Records (New York City)
Duration:     21:12
Tracks:
01. Show Me the Sun     3:53
02. The Same Star     3:35
03. I’’ll Be Your Pilot     4:16
04. Cornflakes     4:26
05. A Plague On All Other Boys     5:02
℗ 2018 Matador
Members:
•★    Richard Colburn
•★    Mick Cooke
•★    Chris Geddes
•★    Stevie Jackson
•★    Bob Kildea
•★    Sarah Martin
•★    Stuart Murdoch
Past Members:
•★    Isobel Campbell
•★    Stuart David
Notes:
★•    The 3x12” boxset is available with two different purchase options. You may buy the set as a subscription which will ship an EP to your door each month, starting with the first EP on December 8th, the second EP on January 19th and the third EP and box + poster on Febraury 16th.
★•    OR you may buy the 3x12” boxset as a complete set, which will ship to arrive on February 16th, 2018.
★•    Alternatively, you may purchase a CD compilation of the 3 EPs, which will also ship to arrive on February 16th, 2018.
Review
by Stuart Berman, JANUARY 18 2018 / Score: 7.4
★•      Having grown from wise~beyond~their~years aesthetes into middle~aged adults, Belle and Sebastian balance parental sentimentalism with a youthful abandon rarely entertained on their early recordings.
★•      “We’re the younger generation, we grew up fast,” Stuart Murdoch sang on Belle and Sebastian’s “Me and the Major,” back in 1996. At the time, everything about his band seemed to actively cultivate the impression of a group already wise beyond its years: the wistful black~and~white album covers that sought to preserve a certain bygone innocence in amber; the richly narrative songs that felt like pages ripped from a secondhand novella; the refined record~collector reference points (Nick Drake, Nico, Love) indicative of indie aesthetes who’d retired from the student~disco scene. But on Belle and Sebastian’s latest EP, Murdoch offers a rejoinder that suggests he grew up a bit too fast for his own liking: “It’s tough to become a grown~up,” he cautions; “put it off while you can.”
★•      The line appears in “I’ll Be Your Pilot,” the lead single from the second installment of Belle and Sebastian’s How to Solve Our Human Problems triptych. In the song, Murdoch is addressing his young son, Denny, through the sort of private exchange that plays out in a father’s head as he watches his child fall asleep. But if the song’s oboe~sweetened folk~rock sway plays up the sentimentality of that scene, Murdoch’s lyrics shrewdly illuminate the flip side of such tender moments — namely, the unshakeable unease of raising a child in such a fucked~up time. “I’ll tell you that when you land in the real world/It’s like quicksand,” Murdoch warns, marking the point where kindly parental pep talks must give way to harsh reality checks. And while the song’s chorus — “I will keep you safe, I’ll be your pilot” — may initially elicit an “awww,” the air~travel metaphor also implies that every life will face its share of turbulence.
★•      If “I’ll Be Your Pilot” is a plea to savor the splendor of childhood before the indignities of the outside world inevitably creep in, the rest of the EP gamely heeds the call to stay forever young, as Belle and Sebastian playfully let loose in a way that their buttoned~up twenty~something selves would’ve never allowed. In lieu of a typical brass arrangement, we hear the band vocalizing a fake one at the top of “Show Me the Sun,” as if they were drunkenly trying to hum the theme to some forgotten 1960s TV game show; that faux fanfare gives way to a rubbery bass groove, discordant psychedelic guitar squeals, and a soul~powered lead vocal from Murdoch, with the whole hodgepodge adding up to a spirited “Funny Little Frog” sequel as rendered by the Go! Team (albeit one weighed down by an awkward and unnecessary downtempo interlude). And while “The Same Star” initially finds Sarah Martin slipping into Stevie Nicks’ kimono for a shimmering “Dreams” flashback, it eventually leads us to an exultant brass~blasted outro shot skyward with the help of some sci~fi synths.
★•      Where How to Solve Our Human Problems’ first volume felt more like a random collection of a few great songs scattered among B~side~grade material, this edition more successfully arranges its discrete, divergent elements to flow as a proper mini~album. Even if Stevie Jackson’s “Cornflakes” just plays like an extended remix of the preceding EP’s divine disco standout “Sweet Dew Lee,” it’s a welcome jolt of decadent frivolity following the heartfelt “I’ll Be Your Pilot.” It’s also an effectively over~the~top setup for the curtain~closing “A Plague on All Other Boys,” a song that bears all the hallmarks of a classic 1997~era Belle and Sebastian comedy of manners, with Murdoch lending his delicate voice to a Nebraska student crushing hard on a classmate: “I’m a mess/I’m defeated/My grade~point average went to hell.” ★•      Spoiler alert: In this case, the boy doesn’t get the girl — and it takes him a good 10 years to get over it. But, as Murdoch adds with fatherly encouragement, “Suddenly, you realize you’re free to fraternize again.” Even though he’s reached the age where he’s writing songs for his kid, he hasn’t forsaken the lovelorn misfits that comprise the B&S base. He’ll still be your pilot, too.  ★•      https://pitchfork.com/
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Belle And Sebastian — How To Solve Our Human Problems, Pt. 2 (EP)

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