Permission To Land | Belle & Sebastian

Veteran Belle & Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson says that after a decade, elements of any band are bound to change.

 

 

A decade seems to have passed in an instant for Belle & Sebastian.

Tigermilk, the twee Scottish collective’s acclaimed debut, dropped in 1996, unleashing frontman Stuart Murdoch’s fey coffeehouse poetry upon an unsuspecting world. A string of equally low-key, literate records followed in quick succession, garnering a rabid following until the stumble of 2000’s Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant.

Following a few key personnel shuffles and seemingly having hit a creative wall, Belle & Sebastian took a hard left with 2003’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress, a surprisingly vivid work that reveled in excess and threw off the shackles of introspection. Produced by Trevor Horn, the album polarized the faithful and won the heretofore under-the-radar group a few new fans.

On their seventh full-length record, The Life Pursuit, Belle & Sebastian have struck a fine balance between the delicate sketches of old and the vibrant, bold pop of now. Veteran Belle & Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson says that after a decade, elements of any band are bound to change.

“I think as time goes on, people either like [change] or they don’t,” Jackson said recently from a tour stop in Brighton, England. “People see it in different ways—if people like the lo-fi kind of sound, it’s going to clash with our aspirations to make a record as good as, I don’t know, a Blondie single or an Abba single or something like that.

“And I think we’re also a pop group, there’s always a core sensibility going through all the records, right from the start, even up to The Life Pursuit. It was always about getting memorable pop tunes and…I think in that sense, we have been consistent, from Tigermilk all the way through. Whatever the merits of the individual record, that’s something that’s always been constant.”

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