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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lament for Isobel
Those of you awaiting another 'If you're feeling sinister' are sadly going to be waiting for a long time. 'Life Pursuit' follows the previous albums more conventional approach to song writing, although there can be no mistaking Stuart Murdoch's dulcet tones it soon becomes clear listening to this record that Belle & Sebastian are a...
Published on 7 Jan 2006 by Wg Metcalfe

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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars another sunny day...
many of the reviews here lament the abscence of isobel campbell, who used to play cello for belle and sebastian. while it would be an exaggeration to suggest she was the leading creative force in the band, it is unfortunate timing that she has (together with mark lanegan) released a fantastic album just one week before 'the life pursuit'. indeed, 'ballad of...
Published on 12 Feb 2006 by M. Hann


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lament for Isobel, 7 Jan 2006
By 
Wg Metcalfe "Will Metcalfe" (Coventry, Uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
Those of you awaiting another 'If you're feeling sinister' are sadly going to be waiting for a long time. 'Life Pursuit' follows the previous albums more conventional approach to song writing, although there can be no mistaking Stuart Murdoch's dulcet tones it soon becomes clear listening to this record that Belle & Sebastian are a completely different band. Infact anyone hoping to call this album 'twee' will be pleasantly surprised, forthcoming single 'Funny Little Frog' is both charming and touching 'You're my girl and you don't even know it'. 'White Collar Boy' sounds like an indie take on the stomp of glam rock whilst the gently sloping 'Act of the Apostle Pt 2' has a melody reminiscent to 'Century of Fakers' intially anyway. Though the new album is another step away from the former glories it's still an album of fantastic quality. Aaaah, for the good old days. 'If you're going to grow up you got to do it on your own'. Quite.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Changing, moving on, get used to it., 10 April 2006
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
Funny to see looking through previous reviews how much opinion can be divided by this CD. "The Life Pursuit" is very much a continuation of the direction taken in "Dear Catastrophe Waitress". It maybe doesn't have the same ultra-gloss production sheen, but this is as mainstream as you'll have ever heard B & S. None-the-less there are good songs on here, some excellent and no weak efforts. But perhaps they don't have the unique quirkiness that earlier recordings had, and those that established such a fanatical cult following.
Some familar B&S themes are here; Self-referential lyrical depreciation. Side references to religion. Musical inspiration taken from the 70s. Mainstream, but unmistakable. Equally noticable is that the band members are better musicians than ever. This is a band still on the way up, still changing, a band not yet devoid of new ideas.
I suppose it must hurt to see your own special obscure band take a direction that gets them attention outside their niche. I can't see any other reason for some of the review comments here. Common sense would suggest if you really only ever liked past B&S member Isabel Campbell's music, the best course of action is to buy a CD that she's on, not one she's not. It seems pointless to complain about her absense afterwards, never mind inventing unsavoury personal motivations for other band members based around her.
B & S are changing. They're still making good music. Join in or move on.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it NOW and make this the hit it deserves to be, 11 Jan 2006
By 
M. Boyle (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
As already said, the cliche 'If you but one album this year, make it this one' is perhaps a little overused - but in this case it is completely deserved.
If there is ANY justice in the world then journos, music fans and the general public will be raving about this album in the overblown terms which have been enjoyed by the likes of Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs in recent times. It is past time Stuart Murdoch and his gang were hailed the true stars they undoubtedly are.
Deservedly voted Scotland's best ever band recently, this is classic Belle & Sebastian at their very best, and significantly better than media darlings Franz. It has everything fans have come to love - Stuart's magnificent lyrics, fantastic musicians at their very best, and (perhaps to some critics, not before time) clear signs that B&S are evolving and now confident enough to move on from their Tigermilk/Sinister peak to reach new highs.
Perhaps Stay Loose, at the end of Dear Catastrophe Waitress, was the best hint of what is to come in The Life Pursuit, as B&S breath new life into 60s/70s pop/rock.
Another Sunny Day (would make a great single in my opinion)is classic B&S, evocative of Asleep on a Sunbeam, while you simply won't hear better indie pop rock alt country (delete as applicable) than songs like White Collar Boy, The Blues are Still Blue or the fantastic Sukie in the Graveyard.
B&S have finally evolved into the magnificent live band fans always knew they could be, and this album shows that this is a band finally coming to terms with their own greatness and able to express it in recordings in a way which they were not quite able to do in the middle of their career.
There are no low points unlike some other albums (Fold Your Hands and Arab Strap are great albums by most bands' standards, but not B&S) but if forced I'd say Song for Sunshine is the 'least excellent of the 13 quality tracks on offer.
Mercury, Brits, NME, tabloids, broadsheets, whoever - do the right thing and make this your album of the year now. Go on, you know it makes sense!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pursuit you sir, 9 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
Absolute gold. Their best album to date, how do they keep on churning out these classics? This is one of those rare albums that you can listen to from track 1 straight through to track 13 without skipping, every track is excellent. My only quibble is the choice of single, I feel that there are many better tracks on the album that would have made a more comercially viable choice - but hey when where the Belles ever about that?! Sit back and enjoy a stunning run of form from the Glaswegians (and of course Bangor Bobby!)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, but the same., 20 Sep 2006
By 
S. Murphy (Worcester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
As much as I adore B&S's early work (my favourite album is their second, followed by the early Jeepster EPS), you cannot stay 16 forever. B&S have to grow up. How many fey songs about bedsits with scratchy guitars can they write. These people are musicians. They are not Robbie Williams churning out what they think the fans want. They are artists remaking the world in their image. You are entitled not to enjoy the music but you cannot tell them they are wrong. I have been listening to this album for some months now and it has just grown and grown and grown. It is miles ahead of the patchy and over produced DCW. The Life Pursuit is nothing if not a 24 carat gold pop classic. But, the musicianship! The playing! Listen to it on headphones once or twice - cycling on a sunny morning or walking to the newsagent. Another Sunny Day is exquisite, and as quintessentially B&S as Get Me Away From Here... or anything from Tigermilk. The only low point is Song For the Sunshine which is just badly written pap. This should have been left off and the album would have been a nice round 12 songs. This band is growing, and how. Richard Colbert has never sounded so good. It's like they've hired Jimmy Cobb or "Philly" Joe Jones or something (nice!). This is a marvellous album. Nothing this year has topped it yet and 2007 is on the way. Album of the year! Album of the year! Altogether now: 'You're my picture on the wall, you're my image in the hall, you're the one I'm talking to, when I'm coming home from school...'
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Special, 25 Feb 2006
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
After hearing 'Arab Strap' on the radio years ago (probably on Peel) I have been checking out this special little band with great interest,thinking that after 6 albums they (esp. Stuart) will eventually run out of steam. Despite a few personnel changes and reports of 'moving to LA' (gulp!!) they have done what I thought was impossible and that is to surpass the excellent 'Waitress' album.
The diversity on this album is breathtaking from the glam/T Rex feel of 'Blues are Still Blue' to the almost English folk delivery of 'To be Myself Completely' As usual,you find the tunes getting hold of your brain and not letting go and the lyrics made me smile with pleasure.I know it is only Feburary but this is the album of the year already. In thirty years of listening to all kinds of music this band has restored my faith and genuinely excite me.Scotlands For Me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still getting better, 10 years on, 12 Feb 2006
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
I'm in no doubt, this is a great record. Belle & Sebastian have always been about tunes, and there's no shortage of them here. Even those who have moaned in the past about supposed tweeness (a criticism of the style rather than substance anyway) cannot deny the confident swagger in which many of the songs are delivered.
Belle and Sebastian are much like the Smiths in that they inspire adoration and ridicule in equal amounts, but this a very tuneful and upfront pop record for the most part that surely has a chance of converting the neutrals. Existing fans can surely not be disappointed with the high standard of both the songs and musicianship.
B&S have been great from the start, but it's gratifying to see them just getting better and better with age
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing Up Gracefully, 6 May 2008
By 
pjr (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
One should really spare a thought for some of the other bands who tiptoed onto the scene at the same time as B&S. Take pause as most of them are defunkt and few that are still going seem to be growing in popularity. B&S are probably more high profile now than they were after winning that BRIT all those years ago...

Truth is (and here come dozens of unhelpful votes) that I've always felt that Stuart Murdoch is the strongest element and Isobel Campbell was always the weakest link for me. Murdoch seems to have finally made the descision to properly lead the band and, second time out, really has nailed it thanks to not sharing songwriting duties. What results is a much more cohesive record and B&S are all the better for it. The writing is funny, bright, happy and accessible. I'm not sure which upsets the hardcore the most but I simply see this as a man developing and growing in stature as a songwriter. I'm sure that if he'd released this as a solo album some of the frustrations noted here by others would be admiration.

From the lovely piano lines of "The Act Of The Apostle" onwards there is a brightness about this. It's a development from the last album primarily because there were times on the last one it all felt a little forced. None of this feels forced. The singles are all pop inflected and veer from the almost sunshine pop of "Funny Little Frog" to the gentle glam of "White Collar Boy". Personally I'd have put "Song For Sunshine" out as it has a-sunrise-on-a-beach-after-a-night-at-a-rave feel about it. Then there's the two acts of the apostles which (although I'm an athiest myself) seem to compelling hint at Murdoch's own faith. It's no bad thing at all.

In truth this is a coherent, well written, nicely produced album with a good many highlights. The sound of a band that's still moving their sound forward and is all the better for it. Long may it continue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Feb 2006
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
Probably their most consistent album since The Boy With The Arab Strap. Traditionalists may be disappointed, and there are still a couple of tracks which (at the moment) I find mediocre, but overall it's an excellent album and the live DVD is a nice bonus. It's different but it's still Belle & Sebastian.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The wonderful new album from Belle & Sebastian., 12 Jan 2006
This review is from: The Life Pursuit (Audio CD)
The Life Pursuit is one of the catchiest and happiest albums I've heard. Every single track on the album is memorable and well worth listening to. The first time I listened to this I wasn't really concentrating on it but being B&S, I had to give it another shot with my full attention. I did and song after song brought a happy smile to my face.
The first track, The Act of the Apostle I is a great upbeat start to the album. The chorus is amazing, memorable and very layered.
Another Sunny Day starts off very upbeat with a fastish beat and happy lyrics. Not the best song on the album, but the standards on the album never go below excellent.
White Collar Boy sounds edgier than the rest of the album. It has backup vocals which really add to the song no end. Once again, great chorus. Very good song!
The Blues Are Still Blue is a foot tapping song with smart lyrics, some might say it's a little cheesy though. But the blues are still blue! Again, catchy and memorable tune and chorus.
Dress Up in You is probably my least favourite song on the album because it's slower and much less memorable than the rest of the album. Has backup vocals from a female singer.
Sukie in the Graveyard is great! Very upbeat and jazzy sounding. Another memorable track.
We Are the Sleepyheads is once again a fast upbeat track with a great beat and fast guitar.
Song For Sunshine may just be the most memorable song on the album purely because of the chorus. I love it! It's not neccessarily the best song on the album but the chorus makes this song excel. Sunshine/We all see/The same sky. This will be stuck in your head for a while after hearing it.
Funny Little Frog is a nice track, and the single B&S released from this album I believe. It's very pop/rock and catchy.
To Be Myself Completely is sung by a different singer than the rest of the album (sorry I don't know names). Another foot-tapper and a good drum line.
Act of the Apostle II is slower and sounds a little like something from an old broadway musical; but towards the end it turns into the same sound as Apostle I with that very memorable chorus.
For The Price of a Cup of Tea is another great stand out track you'll be singing in your head afterwards. Very upbeat, very happy.
Mornington Cresent is a slow song which sounds good nevertheless (I prefer the fast songs personally). Some great guitar and great piano here. A nice subtle but lovely end to an excellent (my favourite) Belle and Sebastian album.
I don't know what die-hard B&S fans will say about this album, but I love it. A real quality album with some of the catchiest choruses I've ever heard.
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