Belle & Sebastian Still Got Their Mojo Working

Any new material from Belle & Sebastian is worth sitting up and paying attention to, because for more than 20 years these Scottish pop stylists have consistently dazzled their fans with their distinctive brand of infectious, high-level songcraft. In fact this band is held in such high esteem around here that they made our list of Top 100 Rock Bands of All Time, a controversial selection perhaps but a solid argument can certainly be made on their behalf.

This week they released a new single from the second of a trilogy of new EPs collectively called How To Solve Our Human Problems. (Why on earth anyone would release a trio of EPs instead of one full-length album is beyond me, but I haven’t been recording for more than 20 years so what do I know.) The single is called “The Same Star” and it brings more of the same Pop/Rock excellence we’ve come to expect from Belle & Sebastian over the years.

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The song was written and sung by multi-instrumentalist Sarah Martin, who has been with the band from the very beginning. Even though Stuart Murdoch is the founder and leader of the group, it has always been a very democratic organization with significant contributions from all members. But for some reason I’ve never really considered them as being one of the top mixed-gender bands, but it’s time we all started doing so.

The first half of the song is very typical B&S fare, lovely melody with a retro-pop flourish. But the song finds another gear around the halfway mark with a blast of horns and energy, and later a very untypical but a beautifully-toned guitar solo really beefs things up for the finish. More nice work from the men and women of this fine band.

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