Belle & Sebastian, "Write About Love"

59 Billboard Rating

On its eighth full-length release, Glasgow, Scotland, indie pop group Belle & Sebastian ditch their sad-vibes-hidden-by-happy-melodies schtick in favor of legitimately upbeat songs. "Write About Love," Belle & Sebastian's follow-up to 2006's "The Life Pursuit," finds the band taking a jaunty trip backward, unfortunately toward retro days long before the act's '90s heyday. Norah Jones helps create a melancholy vibe on the song "Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John," but the results sound more fitting for her album than Belle & Sebastian's. British actress Carey Mulligan duets with frontman Stuart Murdoch on the set's title track, which could've also worked well for Murdoch's side musical project, "God Help the Girl." Elsewhere, the band channels the Smiths on the track "I Want the World to Stop," reminding loyal Belle & Sebastian fans of what they're missing. Time has seemingly turned the veteran act optimistic, even when writing about the sometimes messy topic of love

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