Belle & Sebastian

The Life Pursuit

Sometimes I wonder if the future race inhabiting Earth will dig up a Belle & Sebastian album and understand nearly everything about popular music from our era. From sonically subtle to rocking-out, the band’s tunes are studded with hooks and riffs of bygone artists and literary lyrics that underwrite its Brit-pop sound. The Life Pursuit offers more of the same. Vocals on the faster “We are the Sleepyheads” are reminiscent of late-’70s Bowie, contrasting the phase-shifting guitar solo and the rapid-fire high-hat. And the slow funk on “Song for Sunshine” rules the arena at the tipping point of the night, when the first rush has already knocked you off your feet before the airy synth moves in to sweep you away. “Funny Little Frog” does unrequited love: “You are my girl, and you don’t even know it/ You’re the funny little frog in my thro-at,” with the big finish “I’ll maybe tell you all about it someday.” Teen-angst escapism in “Act on the Apostle II” preaches lyrics of boredom over a walking bass line, then blooms into the unrequited surreal, neatly tying it back to the opening track, “Act on the Apostle.”