Belle and Sebastian

The Life Pursuit

2003’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress was a comeback album for Belle and Sebastian, both critically and commercially. The Life Pursuit accordingly will receive a sophomore album’s scrutiny—and it holds up. It is their best work to date. Producer Tony Hoffer navigates a wide range of influences: T. Rex glam; Motown; ’70s flower funk; and even a few moments that recollect Sid and Marty Krofft’s psychedelic, musical kids’ TV shows. As he’s done with Beck and Supergrass, Hoffer steers away from a retro-lovin’ approach and maintains a sound that is purely the band’s. Stuart Murdoch’s vocals are stronger than ever, showing stylistic range and confidence one can imagine is the result of recent success. With repeated listens, it’s clear that The Life Pursuit is full of fantastic and varied pop songs, with no filler.