Record Label: Matador Records
Rating: 4 out 5 stars
Belle and Sebastian return with a new three-part album, How to Solve Our Human Problems, following a hiatus from their 2015 album, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Each installment includes five tracks, and every section showcases a multitude of vocal styles and melodic moods. Similar to a mosaic, all these pieces fit together to create an album that is varied yet still cohesive.
What makes this album so intriguing is the themes found within each track. In the first part of the series, each song is an airy, baroque-pop song that will keep listeners in a trance—like a plague that keeps listeners dancing until they can’t dance anymore. “Sweet Dew Lee” opens the first part of the album with its lovely vibraphones before switching into heavenly dance grooves. With a euphoric shift at the chorus, the song quickly throws itself into dreamy electronic synths. This is followed by “We Were Beautiful,” an upbeat track featuring Stuart Murdoch, who plays well with the hazy guitar synths and clever harmonies.
The second part of the series takes audiences back to the 60s with lazy tunes reminiscent of The Beatles. “I’ll Be Your Pilot,” is the star of the record with its steady drum beat, classic acoustic guitar riffs, and the melodious voices of what sounds like every singer in the world.
As a conclusion to this trilogy, Belle and Sebastian end with a more indie-folk sound to their discography. Complete with high octaves and smooth acoustics, this is a refreshing ending to a well-composed album.