February 23, 2006

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Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit
Matador Records, 2006

Earth’s de facto wimp-rock champs have returned to the cosmic ring armed to the teeth with Nerf balls, prepared to mano a mano it up with Bob Saget. Bunny-prolific pushers of novo twee rock (the Barney-dinosaur-like four-chord folk-punk that put Josef K on the, ah, map), the Scottish something-tet’s 2006 studio release is, as usual, visually articulated with album cover artwork that bellows its ’60s Columbia House wannabe-ism from the highest mountaintop. Undergrad nu-folkies will thrill and kick up their crook-legs to the gelded Creedence chords of “Another Sunny Day” and its near-Death-Cab experiential Fleetwood Mac 8-track patter, the real black belt songwriting coming into earshot later in “White Collar Boy.” “Act of the Apostle” isn’t much more than an excuse to ghoul up that antique “Day in the Life” reverb knob that’s become so pivotal to Belle’s retro creampuff imitators, whose importance to the music world can’t be understated enough. B
Eric Saegera