Top positive review
Perhaps not their best album, but there are still plenty of excellent songs
on 19 September 2017
When Write About Love was released in 2010, again produced by Tony Hoffer, who had been at the helm for probably my favourite Belle And Sebastian album, The Life Pursuit, I suppose I was a little disappointed with it, compared with its predecessor. Compared with The Life Pursuit, I felt as if Write About Love was, well, a little ordinary. As such, I haven't listened to this album for quite a while now, so I was interested to see if time and my supposed maturity had made any difference. Well, it's certainly better than I remember it and, if I'm honest, because I didn't love it instantly, I probably didn't listen to it quite enough when I bought it. This is a very competent, pleasing-to-the-ears piece of work, but, ultimately, it is a warm, platonic kind of love rather than head-over-heel, fireworks kind of thing. The opening couple of songs, I Didn't See It Coming, a romantic, melodic piece, and Come On Sister, with its cascading keyboard riff, are excellent. They're both very typical of the band and not at all groundbreaking, but highly likeable nonetheless and bring a rather big smile to my face. I Want The World To Stop has a reverb-laden sixties vibe and comes across almost like a cross between The Zombies and Pulp; it's a quality composition, rather infectious and a is good shout for the best track on the whole album.
Other picks from the album include the title track which, again, reminds me strongly of The Zombies, right down to the Rod Argent-aping keyboard solo,the superb I'm Not Living In The Real World, a rousing, rowdy, uptempo romp with Stevie Jackson on lead vocals and Read The Blessed Pages which is a pretty, genuine and gentle acoustic piece. There are other perfectly good songs on Write About Love, in fact there isn't a bad song on it and I suppose I should mention that Norah Jones makes a cameo appearance on the more than decent Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John, but this album, to me, is an equal mix of the ordinary and the rather special and well worth getting for the latter. As always, the release is beautifully presented in that Belle And Sebastian style, and, in the booklet for the album, Stuart writes a three part preface/essay for the album and it proves to be as engaging and interesting as the music; I particularly like the passage where Murdoch reminisces about the short poem he was taught at school and the feelings it invoked. It has been quite wonderful rediscovering this record. I admit to having overlooked it first time around and, although I don't believe it stands amongst their very best work, there are a few tracks on Write About Love that would make any “best of” compilation for the band.