Belle and Sebastian - White Collar Boy

By what barometer do we measure music? How to explain the magick that leads us to embrace a particular tune and reject others? Sometimes there is no logic to such matters.

And so it is with Belle & Sebastian's latest album The Life Pursuit. On release, it gathered some of the most positive reviews of their career but my B&S-adoring partner (they come third only to Orange Juice and The Smiths in her affections) has probably only listened to the whole album twice - and that's only when I've pulled it from the rack.

I have a pet theory that when Radiohead reflected upon OK Computer they realised how close they had come to the abyss marked 'prog rock' and retreated back to their laptops. There's a little bit of that with B&S. We were both kinda hoping they would be brave enough to grasp the nettle hinted at on Dear Catastrophe Waitress's Bowie-esque closer "Stay Loose" or the epic non-album track "Your Cover's Blown". Weird it up a little. Instead what the new album delivered was pretty much the same formula, just with added David Essex.

So there's nothing intrinsically wrong with "White Collar Boy"'s Glitter Band stomp. It's just a bit ... Belle and Sebastian.

The different formats throw up some interest, however. The lovely "Heaven In The Afternoon" is one of those "Why did they leave this off the LP?" tracks with that rarest of things: an inoffensive saxophone. "Long Black Scarf" sounds like Jackson Browne (if I knew what Jackson Browne sounded like) and getting Stuart Murdoch to tackle "Baby Jane" is an amusing concept - and one that works better than you may otherwise imagine.

See the video here:

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