February 12, 2018 Belle and Sebastian – How to Solve Our Human Problems – Part 3 (EP Review)
The third part of the series of EPs that Belle and Sebastian has promised late last year to deliver is finally coming out. The wait is soon over. The trilogy will have been complete.
Scheduled for release on February 16, 2018, the last installment to Belle and Sebastian’s How to Solve Our Human Problems begins with the classy, graceful, and starry-eyed Lounge Pop swagger of the female-male duet “Poor Boy.” This sets the general style and theme of the album. Then the rhythm and mood slow down a bit as the sequel of Part One’s “Everything Is Now” plays, whose hopeful lyrical content and flowing string orchestration make this track float like falling leaves and petals in early autumn.
The album’s highlight, “Too Many Tears” shines brightly with its jangly guitars and Baroque Pop orchestration, yet behind it resides the gloomy, sad sentiments of this otherwise upbeat song; plus points for superb vocal arrangement and overall song structure. It sounds like a throwback to 2003’s ornate Dear Catastrophe Waitress. And then “There Is an Everlasting Song” finds Murdoch and the rest of the Scottish collective drawing some inspirations from their folky, countryside roots—acoustic, rustic, sweet, timeless…everlasting indeed.
Ultimately, the entire How to Solve Our Human Problems officially closes with the ’60s Sunny Pop sheen and gloss of “Best Friend,” another Murdoch-Martin duet that will send the twinkle toes of couples, hand in hand, tapping towards the wooden dancefloor surrounded by walls adorned with black-and-white photographs of ’60s female Pop stars and groups like Nancy Sinatra (“These Boots Are Made for Walking”), Sandie Shaw (“Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now”), Petula Clark (“I Know a Place”), Dusty Springfield (“I Only Want to Be with You”), Margo Guryan (“Someone I Know”), The Ronettes (“Be My Baby”), and The Shangri-Las (“Right Now and Not Later”).
Belle and Sebastian—Stuart Murdoch (vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, keyboards), Stevie Jackson (vocals, electric and acoustic guitar), Chris Geddes (keyboards), Richard Colburn (drums, percussion), Sarah Martin (keyboards, electric and acoustic guitar, violin, flute, vocals), Bobby Kildea (guitar, bass), and Dave McGowan (bass, guitar, keyboards)—have certainly wrapped up their latest ambitious and grandiose offering with ribbons of melodies and laces of ornate instrumentation.
Fans will be satisfied, albeit only for the time being; because after listening to this new batch of songs, they will surely crave for more from the architects of grand Indie Pop masterstrokes. CrypticRock gives the third and final installment of Belle and Sebastian’s How to Solve Our Human Problems 5 out of 5 stars.