It’s been a long wait since Belle and Sebastian last released Write About Love (2010). Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance is a re-invented release produced and mixed by Ben H. Allen III [Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective] which yields dance and disco elements, undoubtedly from their recent focus on Giorgio Moroder and vintage Detroit techno. However, their characteristic and dazzling accounts of tender souls learning to survive in a twisted world juxtapose well with their new sense of reinvention.
Extended tracks on their ninth release seem to provide the listener (and perhaps B & S), time to get settled in for a wide-reaching, emotion filled ride. At times it gets personal, as with “Nobody’s Empire,” which opens Girls in Peacetime. The track, chronicles Murdoch’s stretch with chronic fatigue syndrome, painting a raw, and personal picture of his ensuing solitude.
The wide-reaching Girls in Peacetime encompasses spectrums of hope and despair on “Play for Today,” a track filled with assuring lyrics and playful African beats are met with a perfect balance of a gloomy, minor key strain, with a splash of positivity despite the hopelessness. The lengthy, robust tracks of the album truly shine with “The Cat with the Cream,” a five minute-plus song, allowing the significance of the track to set in.
Drawing on some of their recent preoccupations with dance and techno music is aptly titled, house track “The Party Line,” the rhythmic and upbeat “Allie,” and the disco infused “Enter Sylvia Plath”. Belle and Sebastian have outdone themselves once again, reinventing themselves and their sound and generating their most inspired album to date.
Review by Sean Carlin | @seancarlin89